Issue 26 - Jun 30, 2017
  • Biden’s cancer nonprofit gets going

    The Bidens are now official players in the realm of oncopolitics.

    Former Vice President Joe Biden and wife Jill Biden announced the formation of the Biden Cancer Initiative, becoming the first U.S. vice president and second lady to establish and lead a cancer advocacy organization.

  • BSA, NCAB approve nine Cancer Moonshot concepts based on Blue Ribbon Panel recommendations

    The NCI Board of Scientific Advisors and the National Cancer Advisory Board unanimously approved nine Cancer Moonshot-related funding opportunity announcements.

    The approvals bring the total number of NCI Cancer Moonshot FOAs to 33, of which 11 have been closed. The FOAs are aligned with the NCI Blue Ribbon Panel scientific recommendations, which were presented to the White House less than a year ago.

  • House appropriations bill to allow NIH to move moonshot money to FDA

    Under the House version of the agriculture funding bill for fiscal 2018, NIH would be allowed to transfer Cancer Moonshot money to FDA.

    This provision of the Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA and Related Agencies bill recognizes the unintended consequences of the 21st Century Cures bill, which authorized $75 million over five years to be spent on the FDA Oncology Center of Excellence as part of the federal moonshot program. However, NIH was designated to serve as a conduit for these new funds.

  • Buchholz, Dmitrovsky and Fontaine lose authority at MD Anderson as executive vice president positions are eliminated

    MD Anderson has simplified its power structure, eliminating the three executive vice president positions and flattening out the box diagram, with six vice presidents and senior vice presidents reporting directly to the president.

    “These changes create a more diverse leadership team, built of leaders who know the institution and its needs,” the institution said in a press release. “No new hires or additional costs are needed to support the new structure.”

  • In Brief

    • Ruben Mesa new director of UT Health San Antonio
    • Claire Verschraegen to lead medical oncology division at Ohio State
    • Gideon Blumenthal named acting deputy director of FDA Office of Hematology & Oncology Products
    • Robert Haile to join Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute
    • Alexander Kutikov named chief of Division of Urologic Oncology at Fox Chase
    • San Diego nonprofits set to receive 2017 ASTRO Survivor Circle grants
    • ACS and Melanoma Research Alliance to fund pilot research projects
    • Michael Joiner to receive Lifetime Achievement Award from European Society of Radiotherapy and Oncology
  • Drugs and Targets

    • FDA approves Vectibix for use in wild-type ras metastatic colorectal cancer
    • FDA approves flow cytometry test for leukemias and lymphomas
    • Novartis Kisqali receives positive CHMP opinion for HR+/HER2- locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer
    • Novartis receives EU approval for Zykadia in ALK-positive advanced non-small cell lung cancer
    • FDA unveils plan to eliminate orphan designation backlog
Issue 25 - Jun 23, 2017
  • Senate appropriations subcommittee members vow to resist Trump proposal to cut NIH budget

    If the June 22 Senate appropriations hearing is an indication, President Donald Trump will encounter considerable difficulty in accomplishing his stated goal of cutting the NIH budget by 21 percent in fiscal 2018. 

    As their congressional colleagues were ramping up partisan warfare over replacement of the Affordable Care Act, members the Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education and Related Agencies expressed bipartisan support for providing sustained increases for biomedical research.

  • Douglas Lowy to remain deputy director of NCI as Sharpless takes over

    NCI Acting Director Douglas Lowy will continue to serve as deputy director of the institute after Norman “Ned” Sharpless, director of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Wellcome Distinguished Professor in Cancer Research, is sworn in as the next NCI director.

    Sharpless’s appointment was announced June 9. It is not publicly known when Sharpless will be starting in his new role.

  • NCI funds research proposals based on recommendations from the Cancer Moonshot’s Blue Ribbon Panel

    Less than a year after the Cancer Moonshot’s NCI Blue Ribbon Panel identified 10 opportunities in cancer research, NCI has published 24 funding opportunity announcements to conduct research based on the panel’s scientific recommendations.

    The institute has received over 500 applications for the FOAs, said Dinah Singer, director of the NCI Division of Cancer Biology.

  • In Brief

    • CancerCare establishes Patient Values Initiative
    • National accreditation program for rectal cancer accepting applications from hospitals
  • Drugs and Targets

    • FDA approves Rituxan Hycela for DLBL and CLL
    • FDA approves Tafinlar and Mekinist for NSCLC with BRAF V600E mutation
    • FDA approves first companion diagnostic test to screen for multiple NSCLC therapies
    • FDA rejects Pfizer’s marketing application for Epogen biosimilar
    • FDA approves betrixaban for the prophylaxis of venous thromboembolism in adult patients
    • FDA accepts Amgen’s application to expand indication for Xgeva
Issue 24 - Jun 16, 2017
  • Ned Sharpless, Trump’s choice for NCI director, described as erudite scientist whose expertise spans basic, clinical research

    President Donald Trump announced his intention to name Norman “Ned” Sharpless to serve as the next NCI director. The appointment was announced late on June 9.

    Sharpless, director of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Wellcome Distinguished Professor in Cancer Research, will replace Douglas Lowy, who has served as acting director at the institute since Harold Varmus stepped down as director in March 2015.

  • Sandoz prevails over Amgen in Supreme Court case on marketing biosimilars

    Resolving a three-year-long court fight, the U.S. Supreme Court June 12 ruled that Sandoz can commence marketing of its biosimilar white blood cell growth factor immediately after getting FDA approval.

    Amgen Inc., the sponsor of the reference agent, was seeking to make Sandoz wait for six-months after approval.

  • NIH plans to set aside up to $1.1 billion a year to fund more young investigators

    NIH is revamping its grant funding process to provide additional support to meritorious early-stage and mid-career investigators by freeing up funds from NIH’s base budget.

    The policy, called the Next Generation Researchers Initiative, would set aside about $210 million this year and ramp up that amount to $1.1 billion a year after five years—pending availability of funds.

  • In Brief

    • Immunology expert Robert Ferris named director of UPMC Hillman Cancer Center
    • Warren Kibbe to lead translational biomedical informatics at Duke
    • Tuya Pal to lead Vanderbilt’s cancer health disparities program
    • GW Cancer Center Opens Supportive Oncodermatology Clinic
    • Longnecker named Siteman Cancer Center vice president, oncology services
    • Hopkins Medicine expands collaboration with Allegheny Health Network and Highmark
    • McKesson and USON expand agreement with NCCN, adding five disease states to NCCN Value Pathways
    • ASTRO issues guideline for use of stereotactic radiation in early-stage lung cancer
  • Drugs and Targets

    • FDA approves Darzalex as combination therapy for multiple myeloma
    • FDA approves aminolevulinic acid hydrochloride as imaging agent for gliomas
    • OncoSec granted orphan drug designation for unresectable metastatic melanoma