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ISSUE 41 – NOV. 6, 2015PDF

DeVita: 50 Years of Stories

On Cancer Wars and Skirmishes

 

Vincent T. DeVita Jr. has seen the cancer field as a confident young doc eager to challenge the system, as a general in the War on Cancer, as an academic oncologist and, most recently, as a patient.

“I’ve been in a unique position. Partly, the War on Cancer happened because of what we were doing. I watched it grow, and then I ran it at the NCI. And then I came out of the NCI and I watched it from a private cancer center and a university cancer center,” said DeVita, co-author, with his daughter, Elizabeth DeVita-Raeburn, of The Death of Cancer: After Fifty Years on the Front Lines of Medicine, a Pioneering Oncologist Reveals Why the War on Cancer Is Winnable—and How We Can Get There, a just-published memoir.

“There are very few people who have been in that position. But I felt I owed it to the field to give a description of how I saw it, from the beginning to watching it from the outside—watching the field go through some very exciting times.”

 

Book Review

DeVita’s History of Oncology

Told with Candor and Optimism

By Otis W. Brawley

“The Emperor of All Maladies” was a history of oncology, and a good one. “The Death of Cancer” is a memoir of one of the greats of medical oncology. It is a history from someone who was there, making history.

In scientific terms, Siddhartha Mukherjee’s book has the limitations of a retrospective study; Vince DeVita’s book is more like a prospective clinical trial.

I trained at the NCI in the 1980’s. I openly admit that Otis Brawley the medical oncology fellow was intimidated by the mere mention of “Dr. DeVita.”

    Judge Rebukes Brigham for Placing
    Morcellation Critic Under Guard
    While His Wife Underwent Surgery

    A Boston judge ruled Nov. 3 that Brigham & Women’s Hospital had violated the First Amendment rights of a couple who led an aggressive national campaign to stop power morcellation, a surgical procedure routinely used by gynecologists.

      NCI Funds Eight SPORE Grants

      NCI awarded eight new, competing and renewed grants as part of its funding for its Specialized Programs of Research Excellence. The grantees will receive $2,185,000 per year for five years.

         

        Funding Opportunity

        NCI Taking Applications for Research Specialist Award

        NCI is taking applications for its Research Specialist Award, which is designed to encourage the development of stable research career opportunities for scientists who want to pursue research within the context of an existing cancer research program, but not serve as independent investigators.

          In Brief

          • Edith Perez steps down as vice chair of Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology; named VP for Genentech and Roche

          • Stand Up To Cancer, Cancer Research UK and Lustgarten Foundation form pancreatic cancer dream team

          • NCI names 11 winners of its Cancer Clinical Investigator Team Leadership Awards

          • AACR launches international genomic data sharing project

          • CancerCare announces co-payment assistance for pancreatic cancer patients

          • SRI International awarded contract for NCI PREVENT program
          Drugs and Targets

          • TCGA Researchers identify seven subtypes of prostate cancer; two drivers of renal cell carcinoma

          • FDA grants Breakthrough Therapy designation to pexidartinib

          • MD Anderson and CytomX launch collaboration

          20151106 - Nov. 6, 2015
          SPECIAL REPORT – NOV. 3, 2015 

          Judge Rebukes Brigham for Placing Morcellation Critic Under Guard While His Wife Was in Surgery

          A Boston judge ruled Nov. 3 that Brigham & Women’s Hospital had violated the First Amendment rights of a couple who led an aggressive national campaign to stop power morcellation, a surgical procedure routinely used by gynecologists.

          Earlier this week, Brigham provided care to Amy Reed, who needed an emergency surgery for a cancer recurrence. However, her husband, Hooman Noorchashm, had to submit to being searched and accompanied by a security guard.

          Both Reed and Noorchashm are physicians. She is an anesthesiologist who was formerly employed at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and he is a cardiothoracic surgeon who had practiced at Brigham.

          20151103_10 - Nov. 3, 2015
          October 2015PDF

           

           Drugs and Targets

          FDA Approves Imlygic as First Oncolytic Viral Therapy in the U.S., for Melanoma

          FDA approved Imlygic (talimogene laherparepvec) as the first oncolytic viral therapy in the U.S.

          Imlygic, developed by Amgen, is indicated for the local treatment of unresectable cutaneous, subcutaneous and nodal lesions in patients with melanoma recurrent after initial surgery. Imlygic has not been shown to improve overall survival or have an effect on visceral metastases.

          Imlygic is a genetically modified herpes simplex virus type 1 designed to replicate within tumors and produce granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor, an immunostimulatory protein. Imlygic causes cell lysis rupturing tumors and releasing tumor-derived antigens, which along with GM-CSF, may promote an anti-tumor immune response. However, the exact mechanism of action is unknown, according to Amgen.

          Also:

           Breast Cancer

          Phase III Trial Finds Equivalent OS Rates Between APBI Brachytherapy and Whole Breast Irradiation Therapy

          A prospective, randomized, multicenter phase III study comparing accelerated partial breast irradiation with interstitial multicatheter brachytherapy to whole breast irradiation showed that APBI brachytherapy lead to equivalent overall survival and local and regional cancer control rates, as compared to WBI after breast conserving surgery for selected patients with early stage breast cancers.

          The primary objective of the trial was to assess the role of APBI brachytherapy alone compared to whole breast irradiation with boost in a defined group of patients with invasive (stage I-IIA) breast cancer or ductal carcinoma in situ (stage 0) who underwent breast-conserving surgery.

           Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

          Patients Receiving IMRT Had Less Toxicity Compared to 3D CRT, Study Finds

          Patients with locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer that received intensity modulated radiation therapy had less severe lung toxicity and were able to better tolerate their chemotherapy compared to patients who received 3D conformal radiation therapy, according to a secondary analysis of a large phase III trial.

          The study, NRG/RTOG 0617, originally enrolled patients from 2007 to 2011, and compared a high dose of 74 Gy to the standard dose of 60 Gy. All underwent concurrent chemotherapy (carboplatin/paclitaxel, with or without cetuximab) and either 3D CRT or IMRT. In the study, 482 patients were treated with radiation—53 percent with IMRT and 47 percent with 3-D CRT.

          Prostate Cancer

          Phase III Trial Demonstrates Shorter, Hypofractionated RT Can Deliver Similar Results Compared to Conventional RT

           Mesothelioma

          WT1 Vaccine Doubles PFS In MPM Patients in Phase II Trial

           Renal Cell Carcinoma

          Study: Lenvatinib-Everolimus Combination Can Improve PFS

           Carcinoid Syndrome

          Telotristat Etiprate Demonstrates Clinical Benefit in Phase III Study

           Cervical Cancer

          Outreach Program Boosts HPV Vaccine Three-Dose Series Completion

           NCI CTEP-Approved Trials For the Month of October
          20151103 - Nov. 3, 2015