There will be no more faculty surveys at MD Anderson, UT System Chancellor William McRaven pledged to the institution’s faculty in a closed-door meeting March 18.
“I don’t intend to have any more surveys,” McRaven said in a meeting where he acknowledged the concerns of the faculty, but also expressed support for the administration of the Houston-based cancer hospital.
“I think your surveys—at least the ones I’ve seen—give me a clear indication of where the faculty is,” McRaven said at the meeting that lasted for about an hour-and-a-half. “And maybe it’s not unanimous, but I’ve got to tell you that the numbers in the surveys are pretty damning, for the lack of a better term.”
McRaven, the former admiral who, as head of the U.S. Special Operations Command, oversaw the covert operation responsible for killing Osama bin Laden, expressed support for the institution’s Faculty Senate, thereby establishing it as the negotiating partner for the administration headed by President Ronald DePinho.
MD Anderson Pre-empts AAUP Report by Releasing Draft to The Press—with a Foreword
MD Anderson’s message to the American Association of University Professors boils down to this: A pox on your house.
For starters, President Ronald DePinho and his administration declined to meet with an AAUP committee when it came to campus to investigate a tenure dispute. (The Cancer Letter, Sept. 19, 2014).
This snub notwithstanding, AAUP provided MD Anderson with a draft report marked CONFIDENTIAL: NOT FOR RELEASE. The association’s objective was to give MD Anderson the opportunity to comment—and a comment is exactly what they got.
In the afternoon of March 13, the cancer center’s executive team threw the thing to the press.
Varmus Recommends Funding Boost For NCI Cancer Centers Program
NCI Director Harold Varmus announced plans to gradually increase in the institute’s cancer centers budget over the next four to five years.
“It seems to me, we get more bang for our buck from the centers—many of which have many direct-cost budgets of no more than a million dollars, a lot less than the grants we give out,” Varmus said at the March 11 meeting of the NCI Board of Scientific Advisors.
He suggested boosting the centers budget by $10-15 million per year, increasing the total cancer centers budget from $260 million to about $310 million. This plan follows a proposal to reconfigure the formula for awarding cancer center grants.
Lowy Discusses Reducing Cuts to Modular R01 Grants
Following Harold Varmus’s remarks to the Board of Scientific Advisors, Douglas Lowy, soon-to-be acting director of the NCI, focused on reducing the amount of the planned cuts for modular R01 grants.
The plan is cut the reductions in half starting in this fiscal year, from the automatic 17 percent reduction to 8.5 percent, or cutting a 10 percent reduction to 5 percent.
“Our long-term goal is to try to eliminate those cuts completely, but this we estimate will cost about $10 million from the RPG pool, and we would like to see what the is impact on that,” Lowy said.
ASCO Announces Winners Of 2015 Special Awards
The American Society of Clinical Oncology announced the winners of its Special Awards Program.
The Special Awards recognize the dedication and significant contributions of researchers, patient advocates, and leaders of the global oncology community to enhancing cancer prevention, treatment, and patient care.
ASCO also named seven recipients of the Fellows of the American Society of Clinical Oncology distinction.
Fadlo Khuri named president of the American University of Beirut
Philip Low receives the AACR Award for Outstanding Achievement in Chemistry in Cancer Research
Julie Johnson receives Distinguished Scientist Award from Southeastern Universities Research Association
Thomas Merchant named chair of St. Jude Department of Radiation Oncology
The Community Oncology Alliance forms Community Oncology Pharmacy Association
Drugs and Targets
EU approves Jakavi in Polycythemia Vera
EMA grants orphan designation to ImMucin
Hong Kong Department of Health approves Abraxane