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ISSUE 27 – JULY 17, 2015PDF

MD Anderson Faculty White Paper Calls for Executive Pay Freeze, Elimination of “Two-Class System”

 

MD Anderson Cancer Center’s faculty has asked the UT System to freeze the salaries of Ronald DePinho and members of his executive team until they reach a level of parity with faculty salaries, according to a white paper presented to UT System Chancellor Bill McRaven June 14.

The white paper—authored by the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate and distributed confidentially to the faculty July 10—is arguably the most comprehensive representation of the faculty’s cumulative dissatisfaction with DePinho and his administration’s performance and handling of personnel matters over the past three years.

 

Iressa Returns to U.S. Market— Now with Companion Diagnostic

FDA approved Iressa (gefitinib) for patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer whose tumors have epidermal growth factor receptor exon 19 deletions or exon 21 (L858R) substitution mutations as detected by an FDA-approved test.

The drug is being approved concurrently with the therascreen EGFR RGQ PCR Kit as a companion diagnostic.

    NCCS: Covering End-of-Life Planning is a Step Toward Delivering Patient-Centered Care

    Last week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced plans to support Medicare beneficiaries by reimbursing doctors for advance care planning beginning in January 2016.

    The proposed codes would reimburse for discussions about an individual’s wishes, should he or she becomes too ill to make decisions, and for the completion of an advance directive.

    Funding Opportunity

    DoD Taking Applications for $75,000 Horizon Grant

    The Department of Defense is taking applications for its Horizon Award, which offers up to $75,000 in funding to support junior-level scientists to conduct impactful research with the mentorship of an experienced cancer researcher.

    The award is for principal investigators, both pre-doctoral candidates and postdoctoral fellows are eligible, and mentors that have a strong record of funding and publications. The PI and mentor must be from the same organization.

       In Brief

      • Georgetown Lombardi and John Theurer Cancer Center to form research consortium

      • City of Hope establishes professorship with $1.5 million grant

      • Maryann Roefaro named co-chair of COA administrator network

      • Synexus opens three clinical trial research centers in Eastern Europe

      • ACT for NIH appoints seven members to its advisory committee

      Drugs and Targets

      • EU approves Imbruvica in Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinemia

      • FDA grants orphan drug designation to ImMucin in multiple myeloma

      • Cleave Biosciences’s CB-5083 receives FDA orphan drug designation

      • FDA grants fast track designation to Toca 511 and Toca FC

      • FDA grants priority review to MM-398 in pancreatic cancer

      • Eli Lilly and Immunocore launch clinical trial collaboration

      20150717 - Jul. 17, 2015
      SPECIAL REPORT – JULY 13, 2015 

      MD Anderson Faculty White Paper to UT Chancellor Calls for Executive Pay Freeze, Elimination of “Two-Class System”

      MD Anderson Cancer Center’s faculty has asked the UT System to freeze the salaries of Ronald DePinho and members of his executive team until they reach a level of parity with faculty salaries, according to a white paper presented to UT System Chancellor Bill McRaven June 14.

      The white paper—authored by the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate and distributed confidentially to the faculty July 10—is arguably the most comprehensive representation of the faculty’s cumulative dissatisfaction with DePinho and his administration’s performance and handling of personnel matters over the past three years.

      20150713 - Jul. 13, 2015
      ISSUE 27 – JULY 10, 2015PDF

      Lilly Drug to Change Squamous NSCLC,

      But ODAC’s Opinion is Nuanced

       

      The FDA Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee July 9 appears to have recommended approval for the Eli Lilly and Co. agent necitumumab.

      Yes, the word “appears” has indeed appeared in the previous sentence.

      It had to because, in breaking with a long-standing tradition, the agency asked ODAC members to “discuss” the key questions of risk vs. benefit of the experimental therapy instead of reducing their answers to a yea or nay vote.

      No vote was taken, but The Cancer Letter’s analysis of ODAC’s discussion suggests that, had a vote been taken, necitumumab would have received an overwhelming 11:1 vote in favor of approval.

       

      Do-It-Yourself Guide to ODAC

      Circle One: Yes, No, Maybe

      FDA has often asked ODAC members to discuss broad scientific questions. However, the approval questions have, without an exception, been shoehorned into the up-or-down dichotomy.

      What is ODAC without a vote on approval questions?

      Here, The Cancer Letter has combined a transcript of the ODAC discussion with a coding scale that may provide a clue about how the vote on necitumumab would have gone.

        Huntsman, UNM Cancer Center, and UT Southwestern Receive NCI Comprehensive Designations

        Three cancer centers have been awarded comprehensive status from NCI, the highest designation possible: the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah, UT Southwestern’s Harold C. Simmons Cancer Center, and the University of New Mexico Cancer Center.

        A fourth, the Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center at Baylor College of Medicine, is also expected to receive the comprehensive designation, sources said. This will bring the total number of comprehensive centers to 45.

        House Passes 21st Century Cures Act

        The U.S. House of Representatives July 10 passed H.R. 6, The 21st Century Cures Act without amendments by a 344 to 77 vote.

        The bill—designed to modernize clinical trials and streamline the drug approval process—would boost NIH funding by $1.75 billion in mandatory funding a year over the next five years, for a total of $8.75 billion, and FDA’s budget by a total of $550 million.

          ORIEN Partners with Three Cancer Research Centers

          The Oncology Research Information Exchange Network July 9 announced the addition of three cancer institutions to its precision cancer research partnership, bring the total number of partners to nine.

          The new members are the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, the University of Southern California Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Morehouse School of Medicine.

            In Brief

            • Carolyn Britten named director of Hematology/Oncology at the Medical University of South Carolina

            • Marcia McNutt nominated to be president of the National Academy of Sciences

            • Kevin Fitzpatrick named CEO of CancerLinQ LLC

            • Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to open new lung cancer research center

            • American College of Radiology launches Commission on Patient Experience

            • The Association of Community Cancer Centers launches the Institute for Clinical Immuno-Oncology

            20150710 - Jul. 10, 2015