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Issue 43 - Nov. 16, 2018
  • Artificial intelligence can entrench disparities—here’s what we must do

    Heinz Von Foerster, the renowned Austrian-American physicist and cybernetics scholar, declared that “information can be considered as order wrenched from disorder.1” Ever-increasing amounts of digital data and new computational tools promise that technological developments such as artificial intelligence (AI) will bring order, clarity, and new solutions in multiple areas—from transportation to criminal justice.

  • Guest Editorial

    Trump pricing plans are pretentious, could impede access, and will not help much

    Oct. 25, we heard more about President Trump’s plan to save health care dollars through a variety of Medicare pilot programs and index pricing.

  • In Brief

    • Cornelis Melief receives 2018 ESMO Immuno-Oncology Award
    • Roswell Park partners with Jagiellonian University in Kraków
    • NCCS presents third annual Ellen Stovall Award to Gay Crawford and Norman Coleman
    • IU researchers awarded $2.3 million to continue studies on CIPN
    • UVA researchers awarded $1.8 million to test breast cancer approach
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  • Trials & Tribulations

    Deciphering genomic testing options for diverse patient populations in early-stage breast cancer

    In my twenty-two years of practicing medicine, I have observed the evolution of genomic testing and its increasing utility in oncology.

    With the growing interest in precision medicine for breast cancer patients, I have found it important to decipher the differences between the two most clinically validated genomic tests, MammaPrint and Oncotype DX, and their phase III trials, MINDACT and TAILORx, respectively.

  • Clinical Roundup

    • Cardiovascular toxicities seen early in treatment with immune checkpoint inhibitors
    • Breast screening linked to 60 percent lower risk of breast cancer death in first 10 years
    • Fecal transplant effective against immunotherapy-induced colitis
    • Biodesix test predicts response to atezolizumab in lung cancer
    • Keytruda significantly improved OS compared to chemotherapy in PD-L1 advanced esophageal or esophagogastric junction carcinoma
    • Pfizer introduces biosimilar Retacrit injection in the U.S. at a substantial discount
    • Initial data from AMBER trial of TSR-022 + TSR-042 demonstrates clinical activity in progression following anti-PD-1 treatment
    • Zymeworks announces updated clinical data for novel bispecific antibody, ZW25
    • Gradalis presents initial data from phase II U.S. trial for Ewing’s sarcoma
  • Drugs & Targets

    • Using review pilot program, FDA takes two weeks to approve first-line treatment for peripheral T-cell lymphoma
    • FDA accepts novel clinical trial endpoint in approving Erleada for prostate cancer
    • CHMP gives positive opinion for Kisqali combination therapy for all women with HR+/HER2- locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer
    • FDA grants priority review for Tecentriq + Abraxane for metastatic triple-negative breast cancer
    • Immunomedics expands clinical collaboration with AstraZeneca to include metastatic NSCLC
    • Ziopharm Oncology announces Immuno-oncology Clinical Supply Agreement with Regeneron to evaluate combination therapy for brain cancer
Issue 42 - Nov. 9, 2018
  • Otis Brawley leaves the American Cancer Society as it pursues “open-for-business” strategy amid sliding revenues

    If you walked into your local Long John Silver’s restaurant on Sept. 19 and attempted to “talk like a pirate,” the person behind the counter would give you a free deep-fried Twinkie and prompt you to count out a few coins for the American Cancer Society.

  • Conversation with The Cancer Letter

    Brawley: “I started out talking about black-and-white disparities, and now I write papers talking about state-by-state disparities”

    I wish more Americans would care about other Americans and their health care. I see a certain amount of selfishness sometimes, especially when we start having these arguments about screening.

  • Conversation with The Cancer Letter

    Jaffee: Congressional commitment to NIH will continue through FY2021

    The growing nation’s budget deficit will become a primary focus for many in Congress and President Trump, potentially resulting in calls to cut spending, and thereby effectively capping the rate of growth that the NIH budget has experienced during the past four years. In fact, the president has already called for a 5 percent cut across all departments in FY 2020.

  • An Appreciation

    Arti Hurria, geriatric oncologist at City of Hope, dies in traffic accident

    Arti Hurria, a pioneer of geriatric cancer care at City of Hope, died Nov. 7 in a traffic accident. She was 48.

  • Letter to the Editor

    On behalf of ECOG-ACRIN, we want to add our voices to the condolences for the families and community of those killed in Pittsburgh. We paraphrase the assertion of Edmund Burke that all that is required for evil to triumph is that good people remain silent. In response, as a community dedicated to the relief of suffering, we register our condemnation of this atrocity, and of all those that would prey upon sub-populations of our diverse society.

  • In Brief

    • Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation gives $6 million to Moffitt
    • Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group announces Allen Distinguished Investigators
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  • Clinical Roundup

    • Stereotactic radiosurgery and surgical resection offer similar local control of brain metastases
    • Trisalus pressure-enabled drug delivery increased effect of anti-CEA CAR-T in pancreatic cancer patients with liver metastases
  • Drugs & Targets

    • FDA approves Empliciti + pomalidomide and dexamethasone for multiple myeloma
    • FDA grants Fast Track to selinexor for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma
    • Seattle Genetics submits sBLA for ADCETRIS in frontline treatment of CD30-expressing peripheral T-cell lymphomas
    • BMS, Infinity form collaboration to evaluate Opdivo + IPI-549 in urothelial cancer
    • ASCO, SITC release recommendations for reporting of immuno-oncology clinical trials
    • Sandoz decides not to pursue US biosimilar rituximab
    • FDA’s digital tool seeks to help capture real world data useful in regulatory decision-making
    • Elsevier to integrate NCCN guidelines into Via Oncology
Issue 41 - Nov. 2, 2018
  • Minimally invasive surgery lowers survival in cervical cancer, new studies show

    Women who were subjected to minimally invasive surgery for early-stage cervical cancer were four times more likely to die from that disease within three years, three times more likely to have a recurrence within three years, and had shorter overall survival, compared to women who underwent open surgery, according to two groundbreaking studies published in The New England Journal of Medicine Oct. 31.

  • Conversation with The Cancer Letter

    Ramirez: We no longer offer minimally invasive radical hysterectomy at MD Anderson

    When cervical cancer patients were referred to MD Anderson Cancer Center for a prospective, phase III trial testing for noninferiority of minimally invasive vs. open abdominal radical hysterectomy, many requested the minimally invasive approach, because their referring physicians said it was better, said Pedro Ramirez, a professor of gynecologic oncology at MD Anderson.

  • Conversation with The Cancer Letter

    SGO’s Kesterson: Future studies are needed to define role of minimally invasive surgery in cervical cancer

    Gynecologic oncologists need to reduce oncologic risk, but it’s not going to happen without knowing why minimally invasive radical hysterectomies decrease survival of patients with cervical cancer, said Joshua Kesterson, chief of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at Penn State  Cancer Institute.

  • Experts: Minimally invasive procedures in gynecology gained universal acceptance before hard questions were asked

    think these investigators should be commended in doing this trial and coming up with these results. It shows that, in a clear way, we can’t make assumptions in anything we do. The assumption that robotic surgery would be just as good as open surgery is clearly demonstrated here that it’s not a fair assumption.

  • Conversation with The Cancer Letter

    Waksal: Reflecting on the Tree of Life shooting and new American anti-Semitism

    It made me step back and think that things can happen anywhere, and when they happen, it certainly makes one take pause and think, life is fragile in that way as a Jew anywhere, and anti-Semitism has been more in the news than it ever was.

  • In Brief

    • Barry Kramer retires from NCI
    • Adam Margolin to lead new $200M program to accelerate precision medicine at Mount Sinai
    • Andrzej Dlugosz to oversee basic science research at Rogel Cancer Center
    • Leonard Freedman named chief science officer at Frederick National Laboratory
    • Johnathan Whetstine to lead Cancer Epigenetics Program at Fox Chase
    • Syapse to utilize NCCN Biomarkers Compendium for clinical care
    • ONS and other groups ask nurses to lead by example to promote advance care planning
    • SU2C announces fundraising at CVS pharmacies
  • Funding Opportunities

    Global challenge aims to open new direction in breast cancer research

    The California Breast Cancer Research Program has launched the Global Challenge to Prevent Breast Cancer, a competition designed to surface game-changing research ideas to advance breast cancer prevention.

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  • Clinical Roundup

    • Survey shows 4 in 10 Americans believe alternative therapies can cure cancer
    • Study identifies factors for reducing risk of immunosuppression, fever in people treated with chemotherapy
  • Drugs & Targets

    • FDA approves Keytruda + carboplatin and either paclitaxel or nab-paclitaxel for first-line metastatic squamous NSCLC
    • FDA accepts sNDA for Lonsurf for metastatic gastric/gastroesophageal junction adenocarcinoma; grants Priority Review
    • Venclexta + Gazyva reduced risk of disease worsening or death in previously untreated CLL with co-morbidities
    • TESARO achieves Zejula prostate cancer development milestone by Janssen
    • Cofactor Genomics launches ImmunoPrism kit for use in clinical sequencing laboratories
  • NCI Trials

    NCI Trials for November

    The National Cancer Institute Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program approved the following clinical research studies last month.

    For further information, contact the principal investigator listed.