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Issue 24 - Jun. 16, 2017
  • Ned Sharpless, Trump’s choice for NCI director, described as erudite scientist whose expertise spans basic, clinical research

    President Donald Trump announced his intention to name Norman “Ned” Sharpless to serve as the next NCI director. The appointment was announced late on June 9.

    Sharpless, director of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Wellcome Distinguished Professor in Cancer Research, will replace Douglas Lowy, who has served as acting director at the institute since Harold Varmus stepped down as director in March 2015.

  • Sandoz prevails over Amgen in Supreme Court case on marketing biosimilars

    Resolving a three-year-long court fight, the U.S. Supreme Court June 12 ruled that Sandoz can commence marketing of its biosimilar white blood cell growth factor immediately after getting FDA approval.

    Amgen Inc., the sponsor of the reference agent, was seeking to make Sandoz wait for six-months after approval.

  • NIH plans to set aside up to $1.1 billion a year to fund more young investigators

    NIH is revamping its grant funding process to provide additional support to meritorious early-stage and mid-career investigators by freeing up funds from NIH’s base budget.

    The policy, called the Next Generation Researchers Initiative, would set aside about $210 million this year and ramp up that amount to $1.1 billion a year after five years—pending availability of funds.

  • In Brief

    • Immunology expert Robert Ferris named director of UPMC Hillman Cancer Center
    • Warren Kibbe to lead translational biomedical informatics at Duke
    • Tuya Pal to lead Vanderbilt’s cancer health disparities program
    • GW Cancer Center Opens Supportive Oncodermatology Clinic
    • Longnecker named Siteman Cancer Center vice president, oncology services
    • Hopkins Medicine expands collaboration with Allegheny Health Network and Highmark
    • McKesson and USON expand agreement with NCCN, adding five disease states to NCCN Value Pathways
    • ASTRO issues guideline for use of stereotactic radiation in early-stage lung cancer
  • Drugs and Targets

    • FDA approves Darzalex as combination therapy for multiple myeloma
    • FDA approves aminolevulinic acid hydrochloride as imaging agent for gliomas
    • OncoSec granted orphan drug designation for unresectable metastatic melanoma
Issue 23 - Jun. 9, 2017
  • How drugs go viral: Flatiron’s real-world data show how uptake happens

    The graphs make it seem so simple:

    Doctors learn about a new therapy. They start to prescribe it. A standard of care is born. In a matter of months.

  • Conversation with The Cancer Letter

    Maria Koehler: Real-world data is “truly a revolution”

    Real-world evidence is more than just another way of tracking post-market patterns in drug utilization, said Maria Koehler, vice president of oncology strategy, innovation and collaborations at Pfizer Oncology.

    New technology for tracking real-world data may soon change the way pharmaceutical companies approach drug development. By analyzing real-time data, industry can use robust evidence from oncology practices to update drug labels, track market trends, and adjust production.

  • Francis Collins to stay on as NIH director in Trump administration

    Donald Trump has asked Francis Collins to remain in his job as NIH director.

    The move means that, as an official of the Trump administration, Collins will have to at least make an appearance of supporting its FY 2018 budget proposal, which would slash NIH by 21 percent and cut indirect costs charged by institutions that house NIH-funded researchers (The Cancer Letter, May 26).

  • Conversation with The Cancer Letter

    Michael Birrer named director of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center

    Michael Birrer, an expert in early detection and treatment of gynecologic cancers, was named director of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center.

    Birrer, whose job at UAB starts Aug. 1, is director of Medical Gynecologic Oncology and director of the Gynecologic Cancer Research Program at the Massachusetts General Hospital Gillette Cancer Center. Also, he serves as the leader of the Dana Farber/Harvard Cancer Center program in gynecologic cancers and is a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

  • Obituary

    Angela Hartley Brodie, pioneer in the development of breast cancer treatment, dies at 82

    Angela Hartley Brodie, professor emeritus in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and a scientist whose groundbreaking research is considered among the greatest advances in treating breast cancer, died of complications from Parkinson’s disease at her home in Fulton, MD. She was 82.

    Brodie pioneered the development of aromatase inhibitor. Her work developing aromatase inhibitors was a paradigm-shifting effort that began in the 1970s and was designed to reduce the level of the estrogen in the body and thereby block the growth of cancer cells.

  • Aggressive marketing transforms tobacco use into social justice issue, report states

    Tobacco use should be addressed as a social justice issue, according to a recent report by Action on Smoking and Health.

    “Aggressive industry marketing targeted at African-Americans, Native American, and the LGBTQI community and others has resulted in a disproportionate level of the overall tobacco burden being borne by those who can financially least endure it,” states a report released for World No Tobacco Day on May 31.

  • In Brief

    • Ben Melson rejoins MD Anderson as chief financial officer
    • Jeffrey Molter named director of communications at NYU Perlmutter Cancer Center
    • ACCC delivers immunotherapy education in community setting
    • Andy North & Friends raise $1.05 million for UW Carbone Cancer Center
  • Drugs and Targets

    • BMS, Novartis announce collaboration focused on metastatic colorectal cancer
    • Roche announces FDA approval of companion diagnostic to identify ALK-positive non-small cell lung cancer patients
    • FDA Approves Hologic’s Genius 3D Mammography Exam
    • Amgen and Allergan announce FDA advisory committee meeting to review ADP 215, a biosimilar candidate to Bevacizumab
    • Hitachi and MD Anderson to collaborate in research in oropharyngeal cancer
  • Funding Opportunities

    • DOD publishes research opportunities in prostate cancer
Issue 22 - Jun. 2, 2017
  • Flatiron compiles rich data on the uptake of PD-1 inhibitor drugs; A case study in real-world evidence?

    Utilization data compiled by Flatiron Health and made available to The Cancer Letter make it possible to visualize the dramatic uptake of immunotherapy drugs in the academic and community settings.

    The data illustrate nothing less than the real-time anatomy of the creation of a new standard of care in oncology. Charts, bars and tables published here first show these drugs emerge in the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer in early 2015 and rapidly build momentum.

  • Conversation with The Cancer Letter

    Cary Gross: We need to learn to analyze real-world evidence rigorously

    Cary Gross, professor of medicine and of epidemiology at Yale School of Medicine, has been working with a dataset of 35,000 non-small cell lung cancer patients, looking for signs of disparities in access to PD-1 checkpoint inhibitors.

    Working with data gathered by Flatiron Health, Gross has also been pondering the role real-world evidence can legitimately play in the development and approval of cancer drugs.

  • Conversation with The Cancer Letter

    A nascent group of academics plans to conduct randomized trials to determine value of care

    group of cancer researchers is trying to conducting randomized trials aimed at maximizing the value of oncology treatment regimens. 

    The group, called the Value in Cancer Care Consortium, is headed by Allen Lichter, former CEO of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

  • MD Anderson posts four months of positive operating margins as deficit shrinks to $43.9 million

    MD Anderson Cancer Center reported positive operating margins after posting losses over the first four months of the fiscal year.

    Between September and December, the institution’s losses totaled $169.4 million, but between January and April, operating revenues added up to $125.5 million.

  • MD Anderson settles trademark litigation with Pelotonia, Soon-Shiong

    MD Anderson Cancer Center has settled two separate trademark suits protecting the Houston-based cancer center’s Moonshot program.

    One of the actions settled was filed against Pelotonia, a non-profit that coordinates a bike ride that raises money for The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center—Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard Solove Research Institute. MD Anderson claimed in a lawsuit that Pelotonia’s taglines “One Goal” and “One Goal: End Cancer” infringe the Houston cancer center’s trademark “One goal. Stop cancer” (The Cancer Letter, April 14).

  • In Brief

    • CancerLinQ partners with FDA to study real-world use of newly approved cancer treatments
    • NCCN and CancerLinQ collaborating to provide evidence-based, decision-making resources to physicians
    • First analysis of AACR Project GENIE data is published in Cancer Discovery
    • National Breast Cancer Coalition partners with DNA.Land to crowdsource large-scale breast cancer genomics database
    • Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center is dedicated in Omaha
    • University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute becomes UPMC Hillman Cancer Center
    • Markus Müschen named to The Norman and Sadie Lee Foundation Professorship in Pediatrics at COH
  • Drugs and Targets

    • Zykadia gets first-line ALK-positive metastatic NSCLC indication
    • Advaxis and BMS announce collaboration focused on metastatic cervical cancer
    • Johns Hopkins and Eisai extend drug collaboration