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ISSUE 22 – June 3, 2016PDF

Obama and Congress Inadvertently
Created Obstacles to Data Sharing, Biden Acknowledges—Now What?

Seven years ago, when Congress sought to jumpstart the U.S. economy, few imagined that one aspect of the $800 billion stimulus program would turn electronic health records into the Tower of Babel.

Speaking at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center last week, Vice President Joe Biden took full responsibility for the major bioinformatics snafu triggered by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009.

True, ARRA forced the U.S. medical establishment to digitize records in a hurry. Alas, today, fax machines and legions of data entry technicians are often required to transfer patient records from one hospital to another.

Biden said the Obama administration didn’t foresee the consequences of mandating the switch to EHRs without developing a standard infrastructure for aggregating data.

Biden: “You’re All Doing the Same Thing!”

At a roundtable discussion at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Vice President Joe Biden urged greater efforts to aggregate cancer data.

“I know MSK is part of Project GENIE and part of data sharing coalitions,” Biden said at the meeting May 26. “But I’ve met also with ORIEN, I’ve met with CancerLinQ.”

“You’re all doing the same thing! I find it curious. I don’t know if that’s the only way it that can be done.”

University of Maryland Cancer Center
Earns NCI Comprehensive Designation

The University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center has earned a designation as an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. The center announced the NCI designation May 31.

On Aug. 1, when the designation goes in effect, Maryland will become one of the 46 Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the U.S.

ASCO Updates Value Framework

The American Society of Clinical Oncology published an updated framework for assessing the relative value of cancer therapies that have been compared in clinical trials.

The framework defines value as a combination of clinical benefit, side effects, and improvement in patient symptoms or quality of life in the context of cost. The updated framework will be the basis for a software tool that doctors can use to assist shared decision-making with their patients. The update was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Study: 70 Cancer Treatments Launched Over 5 Years Pushes Oncology Market to $107 Billion

A study reviewing trends in oncology found that more than 20 tumor types are being treated with one or more of the 70 cancer treatments that have been launched in the past five years.

The surge in new therapies drove the global oncology market to $107 billion in 2015, an 11.5 percent increase over the previous year in constant dollars.


Funding Opportunity

CDMRP Taking Pre-Applications
For Lung Cancer Concept Award

Only 40 percent of Americans have a positive overall impression of clinical trials, according to a national survey conducted for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

The survey, which polled over 2,100 people including nearly 600 physicians, found that 28 percent of doctors considered clinical trials as treatments of last resort.

Letter to the Editor

Progress Against Cancer:
It Comes in Waves and Ripples

By Silvia Paddock

In 1916, Albert Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves. It took almost 100 years and the construction of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) to show that he was right. In 2015, a brilliant team of researchers detected gravitational ripples that had been generated by the collision of two black holes about 1.3 billion years ago.

In Brief
  • Ralph De Vere White to step down as director of UC Davis Cancer Center
  • FDA publishes two guidances on compassionate use

  • ACCC launches Metastatic Breast Cancer Project

Drugs and Targets
  • FDA approves cobas EGFR companion blood test for Tarceva

  • FDA approves NETSPOT for neuroendocrine tumors

  • European Commission approves Afinitor, Imbruvica
  • FDA grants orphan designations to Debio 1143 and SUBA-Itraconazole Capsules

  • Mylan launches generic version of Vidaza Injection

  • FDA grants Priority Review of telotristat etiprate in carcinoid syndrome


20160603 - Jun. 3, 2016
May 2016PDF


 Multiple Myeloma

Study: Combination of ASCT and Bortezomib
Can Increase Survival

Early findings from a phase III clinical trial showed that patients with multiple myeloma who received an autologous stem cell transplant survived longer without disease progression than those who received only chemotherapy using novel agents.

The study was the largest reported aimed at comparing ASCT with a bortezomib-based regimen alone in patients younger than 65, and will be presented at this year’s annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, June 3-7 in Chicago.

“Even in an age of novel therapies, proven approaches can retain their value. This study demonstrated that combining the best of both worlds—initial therapy with a novel agent followed by stem cell transplant—resulted in the best patient outcomes,” said ASCO President Julie Vose in a statement.

 Colorectal Cancer

Cancers Originating on Left Side of Colon
Associated with Longer Survival, Study Says

A retrospective analysis found that the location of the primary tumor within the colon predicts survival and may help inform optimal treatment selection for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer.

The data show that patients whose primary tumors originate on the left side of the colon—including the descending colon, sigmoid colon and rectum—survive significantly longer than those whose tumors originate on the right side, or the cecum and ascending colon.

Researchers retrospectively evaluated data from the phase III CALGB/SWOG 80405 clinical trial, a federally funded clinical trial designed to compare Avastin (bevacizumab) and Erbitux (cetuximab) in combination with chemotherapy as initial therapy for metastatic colorectal cancer.

 Drugs and Targets

FDA Approves Tecentriq, Opdivo, Imbruvica and Lenvima

FDA granted accelerated approval to Tecentriq (atezolizumab) for urothelial carcinoma, the most common type of bladder cancer. This is the first product in its class of PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors approved to treat this type of cancer, according to the drug’s sponsor, Genentech.

Tecentriq is approved for the treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma whose disease has worsened during or following platinum-containing chemotherapy, or within 12 months of receiving platinum-containing chemotherapy, either before or after surgical treatment.


Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer


Phase Ib Trial Shows 40 Percent of Patients
Receiving Keytruda Alive After 36-Month Follow Up



WT1 Vaccine Doubles PFS in Phase II Trial


Breast Cancer

LEE011 Meets Primary Endpoint, Improves PFS
in Phase III Trial


Precision Medicine

Study: Precision Medicine Yields Better
Outcomes in Phase I Clinical Trials


Palliative Care

Study: Early Palliative Care Provides Benefits
for Family Caregivers of Patients


NCI CTEP-Approved Trials for the Month of May
20160602 - Jun. 2, 2016
MAY 31, 2016 

University of Maryland Cancer Center Earns Comprehensive Designation

The University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center has earned the designation as an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The center announced the NCI designation May 31.

On Aug. 1, when the designation goes in effect, Maryland will become one of the 46 Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the U.S.

    20160531 - May. 31, 2016