Issue 35 - Sep 22, 2017
  • In a 6-6 vote, ODAC says “maybe” to Sutent for adjuvant kidney cancer—But at FDA “Maybe” has meaning

    With frustrating photo finish voting results—6-6—still on the screen, FDA’s cancer czar Richard Pazdur delivered an acerbic thank-you to members of the agency’s Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee:

    “Well, that’s the end vote, it makes our job definitely easier,” said Pazdur, director of the FDA’s Oncology Center of Excellence, who gets sarcastic sometimes.

  • Pisters named president of MD Anderson

    Peter Pisters has been named president of MD Anderson Cancer Center and will begin in his new role later this year.

    The University of Texas System Board of Regents approved the appointment Sept. 18. Pisters, currently the president and CEO of University Health Network in Toronto, was unanimously selected as the sole finalist for the position at a board meeting Aug. 25—under state law, university government boards must name finalists for a presidency at least 21 days before making an appointment (The Cancer Letter, Sept. 1).

  • NCI outlines research priorities in annual plan and bypass budget for FY19

    NCI has released its professional judgment budget proposal for the fiscal year 2019, requesting $6.38 billion—$1 billion more than FY17—to fully fund promising areas in cancer research.

  • In Brief

    • NCI awards $12.4 million lymphoma research grant renewal to University of Iowa and Mayo Clinic
    • Roswell Park awarded contract to keep running NY Smokers’ Quitline 
    • ASTRO awards early-career research grants to physician-scientists
  • Drugs and Targets

    • Novartis’s Rydapt gets EU approval for AML and SM indications
    • FDA approves lower dose of cabazitaxel for prostate cancer
    • EMA committee issues positive opinion for Tesaro’s Zejula
    • Opdivo receives Japanese approval for advanced gastric cancer indications
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