Issue 34 - Sep 15, 2017
  • Five UC Comprehensive Cancer Centers form consortium to pool patient data for translational research

    Five academic cancer centers within the University of California system are putting together a single consortium to integrate their electronic health records, forming a clinical trials monolith that could be used by pharmaceutical companies doing research in the Golden State.

    The UC Cancer Consortium, announced Sept. 11, consists of the following NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers:

    • University of California, Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center,
    • The Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center at University of California, Irvine,
    • The Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center at University of California, Los Angeles,
    • University of California, San Diego Moores Cancer Center, and
    • University of California, San Francisco Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center.
  • Conversation with The Cancer Letter

    Ashworth’s challenge: Build one very big data sharing system across the University of California cancer centers

    As the inaugural chair of the University of California Cancer Consortium, Alan Ashworth has to do a little cheerleading and a lot of pushing for integration of the electronic health records across the UC cancer centers.

    All five cancer centers use Epic, but that doesn’t mean much. “We’re all on Epic—but they’re all different instances,” Ashworth said to The Cancer Letter. “So, we need another solution to put all these things together.

  • Gottlieb: Oncology center shows how FDA can improve regulation, lower development costs

    FDA has a legitimate role to play in slowing down the cost of developing drugs, and it can do so by relying on good regulatory science, the agency’s commissioner Scott Gottlieb said.

    Speaking at a Washington event sponsored by Friends of Cancer Research and focused on precision medicine, Gottlieb said the agency’s Oncology Center of Excellence demonstrates what the agency can do to streamline the drug development process.

  • Conversation with The Cancer Letter

    The Next Step: Neil Hayes picks up stakes at UNC to build an NCI-designated cancer program in Memphis

    The Next Step is an occasional series of conversations in which The Cancer Letter will focus on cancer researchers in the midst of transition from one position to another.

    Here we sit down with Neil Hayes, who after 15 years at the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, where he was most recently a co leader of the Clinical Research Program, is leaving for Memphis to become the scientific director of the University of Tennessee West Institute for Cancer Research.

  • In Brief

    • Teitell named director of the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center
    • AACR calls for sound policy, sustained funding increases
    • Allison, Schreiber win 2017 Balzan Prize 
    • Mannel Appointed as an NRG Oncology Group Chairman
    • Marcus named associate director for basic research, shared resources at Winship
    • Nominations open for AACR-Waun Ki Hong Award for translational and clinical cancer research
    • Vanderbilt’s Penson named to JNCI editorial post
    • Roswell Park joins the Oncology Information Exchange Network
    • Kimmel Cancer Center to open welcome center
  • Drugs and Targets

    • Bayer’s Aliqopa gets FDA accelerated approval for relapsed follicular lymphoma
    • FDA approves Amgen’s Mvasi, a bevacizumab biosimilar
    • Cemiplimab receives FDA breakthrough designation for advanced cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma
Issue 33 - Sep 8, 2017
  • NCI’s Lowy and Schiller win Lasker prize for developing HPV vaccine

    Douglas Lowy and John Schiller have won the 2017 Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award for research that led to development of the human papillomavirus vaccine.
    Lowy, who is completing his stint as the NCI acting director, becomes the first head of the institute—permanent or acting—to win the award, which is described as America’s Nobel Prize.

    The Lasker awards were announced Sept. 6.

  • Conversation with The Cancer Letter

    Lowy: NCI’s intramural program made development of the HPV vaccine possible

    After getting the news that he and collaborator John Schiller have won the 2017 Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award, Douglas Lowy said that part of the credit belongs to the NCI intramural research program.

    Lowy and Schiller got the award for their role in developing the human papillomavirus vaccine, likely preventing millions of deaths worldwide from cervical cancer and HPV-induced malignancies.

  • Another doubling in progress for NIH? Senate appropriators slate $2 billion for NIH in FY18

    The Senate Appropriations Committee Sept. 7 marked up its version of the fiscal 2018 Labor-HHS spending bill, giving NIH an increase of $2 billion over the current year.

    The bill was approved with overwhelming bipartisan support, with a 29-2 vote, and will advance to the White House as soon as the House passes similar legislation. If signed into law, the measure would bring NIH’s budget to $36.1 billion, marking the third year in a row that NIH has received a $2 billion increase.

  • Guest Editorial

    How the RACE for Children Act will get drugs to kids with cancer

    This month, I should be taking my son, Jacob, to college. Instead, I’m participating in Curefest for Childhood Cancer on the Mall here in D.C.

    When Jacob was eight, he was diagnosed with medulloblastoma. The drugs used to treat Jacob were almost 40 years old. They did not work.

  • In Brief

    • H. Richard Alexander named chief surgical officer at Rutgers
    • Weill Cornell awarded $11.3 million SPORE grant for prostate cancer 
    • Fox Chase receives NIH grant to establish a research center in Jamaica
    • NCCN Chemotherapy order templates to be integrated into MEDITECH’s Web EHR
    • ASTRO honors 43 researchers with Abstract Awards at 2017 Annual Meeting
  • Drugs and Targets

    • EC approves Merck’s Keytruda for locally advanced, metastatic urothelial carcinoma
    • FDA grants orphan drug status to Cellect’s ApoGraft for acute and chronic GvHD
  • Funding Opportunities

    • DOD Kidney Cancer Research Program publishes funding opportunities for FY17
Issue 32 - Sep 1, 2017
  • Peter Pisters tapped to lead MD Anderson

    Peter Pisters, a sarcoma and pancreatic cancer surgeon and an MD Anderson expat who serves as president and CEO of University Health Network of Toronto, is set to become the fifth president of the Houston-based cancer center.

    Pisters was chosen by the UT System Board of Regents at a special meeting Aug. 25.

  • NCI requests $591 million in additional funding for FY19

    NCI is asking for $6.38 billion for fiscal year 2019­—nearly $1 billion, or 12 percent, above FY17 appropriation levels—to fully fund promising research areas.

    The institute’s FY19 professional judgment budget proposal, also known as the Bypass Budget, is a unique authority established by the National Cancer Act of 1971.

  • In Brief

    • Guenther Koehne named chief of bone marrow transplantation and hematologic oncology at Miami Cancer Institute
    • Prostate Cancer Foundation awards $6 Million in 2017 Challenge Awards
    • Rick Kittles joins City of Hope as director of the Division of Health Equities
    • William Dale joins City of Hope as professor of supportive care
    • Deric Savior promoted to head of medical oncology at Temple University Hospital
    • Carlyn Tan joins department of hematology/oncology at Fox Chase 
    • Reza Nejati joins pathology department at Fox Chase
    • CPRIT awards $102 million in 60 new grants 
  • Drugs and Targets

    • Novartis’s Kymriah becomes first gene therapy to get FDA approval
    • FDA approves Mylotarg for treatment of acute myeloid leukemia
    • FDA approves Lynparza (olaparib) tablets for maintenance treatment in ovarian cancer
    • FDA approves inotuzumab ozogamicin for relapsed or refractory B-cell precursor ALL
    • Ocugen gets Orphan Drug designation for ocular graft vs. host disease
    • Gazyva in previously untreated follicular lymphoma gets FDA priority review 
    • EU approves AVEO’s Fotivda (tivozanib) for advanced renal cell carcinoma
    • FDA acts to remove unproven treatment used in ‘stem cell’ centers