Issue 6 - Feb 9, 2018
  • Dissenters in anti-tobacco movement cite National Academy report in claim that “e-cigarettes are saving lives.” Nope, the NAS report’s authors say

    A group of tobacco control advocates, one of whom receives money from Philip Morris International, issued a press release trumpeting that “E-Cigarettes are Saving Lives,” and attributed this conclusion to a recent report by the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

  • Conversation with the Cancer Letter

    NTRI’s Abrams: Smokers should use e-cigarettes if they can’t quit completely

    Withholding e-cigarettes as an alternative from smokers who are unable to quit equals supporting the continued use of conventional cigarettes, said David Abrams, a member of the National Tobacco Reform Initiative.

    “The main thing you want to get across with the NASEM report and others is that smokers should absolutely try to find an e-cigarette that works for them if they can’t quit completely,” said Abrams, professor, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the New York University College of Global Public Health. “The public have been very much misled and wrongly believe that e-cigarettes would not help you quit.”

  • An Appreciation

    Cancer moves fast…and we have to move faster

    Jon M. Huntsman Sr. dared to eradicate cancer from the face of the earth. People thought he was crazy, but for someone who started out delivering fresh eggs as a boy to support his family, went on to invent and then manufacture the polystyrene egg carton, and built from scratch a $12 billion global chemical company with more than 12,000 employees, there was no holding him back. Jon was a dreamer, a risk-taker, a true visionary, and a man whose compassion for others knew no limits. He didn’t sleep. His life was dedicated to making the world a better place: a world without homelessness, a world without hunger, a world without cancer.

  • Congress passes two-year budget deal, paving the way toward giving NIH a $2 billion raise

    So, the federal government shut down while America slept, but it reopened after a five-and-a-half hour pause, by early morning Feb. 9. We’ve seen this dance before.

    However, in a move that is anything but yawn-inducing, Congress passed a budget deal that paves the way toward giving NIH a $2 billion raise and lifts the spending caps on defense and non-defense spending through March 2019.

  • CRUK names ten finalists for £20m Grand Challenge

    Cancer Research UK has shortlisted ten multidisciplinary, international teams for what amounts to the second leg of competition for Grand Challenge awards.

    Each of the teams will now receive £30,000 in seed funding to prepare up their applications for interviews later this year.

  • In Brief

    • Arap, Pasqualini named to leadership posts at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey at University Hospital in Newark
    • Dhodapkar named director of new Center for Cancer Immunology at Emory Winship
    • Oberstein named director of GI medical oncology at NYU Perlmutter Cancer Center  
    • Campbell joins Fox Chase Cancer Center Cancer Biology Program
    • IU gets $14 million gift to create program focused on symptom management
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  • Clinical Roundup

    • In phase III study Tecentriq and Avastin reduced risk of disease worsening/death by 26 percent in advanced kidney cancer
    • Opdivo plus Yervoy meet PFS endpoint in phase III trial in frontline NSCLC
    • Tyme announces interim phase II data for SM-88 in prostate cancer at ASCO GU Symposium  
  • Drugs and Targets

    • FDA approves abiraterone acetate in combination with prednisone for high-risk metastatic castration-sensitive prostate cancer
    • Foundation Medicine and EORTC collaborate comprehensive genomic profiling
    • Abbott PathVysion HER-2 DNA Probe assay to be used in ANGLE study
Issue 5 - Feb 2, 2018
  • Like it or not, CMS policy aims to change everything in Next generation sequencing

    A policy now in the works at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will define settings where Medicare will pay for next generation sequencing.

    The health care funding agency will use FDA approval of NGS tests to determine whether these tests are covered outright, receive “coverage with evidence development,” or are denied coverage altogether.

  • Dear CMS, Here’s what I think about your NGS policy… Agency draft memo garners 315 comments

    The range of opinions reflected in the 315 comments CMS received on its proposal for Medicare payment for Next Generation Sequencing reflects the extent of controversy over the test.

  • Conversation with the Cancer Letter

    Miller: “Doctors and patients have confidence in knowing that a test has gone through FDA”

    Concurrent FDA approval and the establishment of Medicare coverage will propel Next generation sequencing squarely into the mainstream of oncology practice, said Vincent Miller, chief medical officer of Foundation Medicine Inc.

  • In Brief

    • Mays Family Foundation makes legacy gift of $30 million to UT Health San Antonio Cancer Center
    • Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center to build proton therapy program
    • Syapse partners with Seoul National University Hospital and Megazone
    • Buchholz named medical director at Scripps MD Anderson Cancer Center
    • Kati Stoermer named executive director NRG Oncology
    • James Wade joins Vibrent Health as chief medical informatics officer
    • SU2C announces $11 million multi-disciplinary research program
    • Chen, Bild, Kahn, Heisterkamp join City of Hope
    • New building expands inpatient care at Siteman Cancer Center
    • CancerCare raises nearly $665,000 to support patients affected by hurricanes
    • Cancer Support Community adds Digital Nonprofit MyLifeLine to its network
  • Funding Opportunities

    AACR announces AACR-J&J lung cancer innovation science grants

    The American Association for Cancer Research has launched the AACR-Johnson & Johnson Lung Cancer Innovation Science Grants.

    A total of $4.5 million will be made available in research funding. Three multi-institutional research teams that seek novel approaches to the prevention, interception, and cure of lung cancer will each be awarded up to $1.5 million over three years.

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  • Trials and Tribulations

    Re: Drug Pricing My unsolicited advice to HHS Secretary Alex Azar

    Dear Mr. Azar:

    I am the leader of CancerCare, a national organization that provides free, professional support services to anyone affected by cancer. I’m writing this letter to offer some perspective regarding the plight of nearly 16 million U.S. cancer survivors, the many more who are family and care providers, and all of those who will be diagnosed in the coming years.

  • Clinical Roundup

    Trial shows durable remissions with Kymriah in children, young adults with r/r ALL

    Novartis has announced updated results from the pivotal ELIANA clinical trial of Kymriah (tisagenlecleucel), formerly CTL019, in relapsed or refractory (pediatric and young adult patients with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia have been published in The New England Journal of Medicine. New data include longer-term follow-up and efficacy in 75 infused patients, analysis of expansion and persistence of Kymriah, and longer-term safety.

  • Drugs and Targets

    • FDA approves lutetium Lu 177 dotatate for treatment of GEP-NETS
    • Amgen receives CHMP positive opinion to add updated survival data to Kyprolis label
    • Syndax announces immuno-oncology collaboration with AstraZeneca
Issue 4 - Jan 26, 2018