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SPECIAL REPORT – AUG. 14, 2015 

 

MD Anderson Moves from Top-Down Structure

to “Shared Governance” with Faculty Senate

 

MD Anderson Cancer Center was instructed to institute a “shared governance” structure, disbanding its powerful Executive Committee effective Sept. 1.

After years of turmoil and plunging morale, the UT System has instructed the Houston-based cancer center to form a Shared Governance Committee, which would incorporate input from the faculty. The move appears to change the institution’s structure from a strong top-down flow of authority to an unusually democratic system.

The new governance committee will serve as the top advisory body to the institution’s president, Ronald DePinho, and will include all division heads; the chair, chair-elect, and immediate past chair of the Faculty Senate; and senior executives.

The decision was announced Aug. 14, in a faculty-wide email from DePinho and Gary Whitman, chair of the Faculty Senate.

20150814 - Aug. 14, 2015
ISSUE 31 – AUG. 7, 2015PDF

Conversation with The Cancer Letter

AstraZeneca Exec Discusses Iressa’s Future in the U.S.

 

After a decade of near-absence from the U.S. market, the AstraZeneca drug Iressa (gefitinib) is back.

The drug, which stayed on the market between 2003 and 2005, when it was pulled because clinical trials in a general population of patients failed to demonstrate a survival advantage, has returned. Now it is accompanied by a diagnostic tests that selects patients.

The Cancer Letter asked Andrew Coop, vice president of US medical affairs in oncology at AstraZeneca, to discuss the company’s plans for the future of Iressa in the US, and lessons that have been learned.

 

Report: Part D Drug Prices “Needlessly High”

Medicare’s Part D program paid significantly higher prices for drugs than either Medicaid or the Veterans Health Administration, a study by Carleton University and Public Citizen found.

Prices paid by Medicare Part D were also above those in 30 other countries.

The price is caused by congressional restrictions on the federal government’s ability to negotiate with the pharmaceutical industry, the study said.

Obituary

Carolyn Kaelin, 54, Dana-Farber Surgical Oncologist and Researcher

Carolyn Mary Kaelin, a surgical oncologist in the Women’s Cancers Program at Dana-Farber and director of the Breast Clinic at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, died July 28, surrounded by loved ones. Kaelin was 54.

FDA News

In Brief

  • Lehigh Valley Health Network joins MSK Cancer Alliance

  • Siteman Cancer Center receives “exceptional” rating from NCI
  • John Cunningham named chairman of pediatrics department at the University of Chicago

  • Jinhgui Zhang named first chair of Department of Computational Biology at St. Jude
  • Stephen Lessnick named director of childhood cancer center at Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital

  • GI Chair Lopa Mishra to leave MD Anderson Cancer Center

  • Leukemia & Lymphoma Society receives donation from Bristol Myers Squibb

  • Commission on Cancer names Outstanding Achievement Award winners

  • California Dept. of Public Health launches big data collaboration with St. Joseph’s Health

  • Pan-Mass Challenge raises $33.5 million over weekend bike ride for Dana-Farber

 Drugs and Targets

  • Health Canada approves Imbruvica in MCL

  • EMA grants orphan designation to synthetic hypericin
  • AstraZeneca and Heptares Therapeutics enter licensing agreement

  • Mirati Therapeutics and MedImmune launch clinical trial collaboration
 

The Cancer Letter will be taking a short publication break, and will return Friday, Sept. 4.

20150807 - Aug. 7, 2015
July 2015PDF

 

Lymphoma

Phase II Trial Shows Benefit with Imbruvica In Activated B-cell-like Subtype of DLBCL

A phase II clinical trial identified patients with a specific molecular subtype of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma that are more likely to respond to Imbruvica (ibrutinib) treatment.

In the trial, patients with the activated B-cell-like subtype of DLBCL were more likely to respond to Imbruvica than patients with the germinal center B-cell-like subtype. The trial was jointly conducted by NCI and Pharmacyclics Inc., and was published in Nature Medicine.

 

Drugs and Targets

FDA Approves Odomzo in Advanced BCC, Kyprolis Combination in Multiple Myeloma

FDA approved Odomzo (sonidegib) capsules for the treatment of patients with locally advanced basal cell carcinoma that has recurred following surgery or radiation therapy, or those who are not candidates for surgery or radiation therapy. Odomzo is marketed by Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp.

The approval was based on demonstration of a durable objective response rate in an international, multi-center, double-blind, randomized, two-arm, non-comparative trial in patients with locally advanced basal cell carcinoma not amenable to local therapy or metastatic basal cell carcinoma.

 

Prostate Cancer

Researchers: As Many as 40% of Patients Could be Receiving Overtreatment

As many as 40 percent of patients with lower-risk prostate cancers may be currently receiving overtreatment, according to researchers that examined common treatment practices.

Monitoring men with very low- and low-risk prostate cancers using watchful waiting or active surveillance, or expectant management, is a useful approach for a large number of men with localized tumors and could spare them the debilitating side effects of aggressive treatments that are too often unnecessarily used in this patient population, according to a study led by researchers at UCLA.

 

Colorectal Cancer

Vectibix Improves OS in Phase III Trial of mCRC

 

Liver Cancer

Cyramza Trial Fails OS Endpoint; Subgroup Data to Form New Study

 

Leukemia

Pracinostat/Vidaza Combination Shows Response in Phase II Trial

 

Bladder Cancer

Study: Robotic Surgery Shows Long-term Results Similar to Traditional Open Surgery

 

NCI CTEP-Approved Trials for the Month of July

20150804 - Aug. 4, 2015