Issue 45 - Dec 7, 2018
  • NCI cuts programs by 5% and non-competing renewals by 3% to maintain paylines in fiscal 2019

    NCI is cutting the budgets of divisions, offices, and centers within the institute by 5 percent to maintain funding for its Research Project Grant pool, which funds a broad range of basic research, as well as clinical trials and health services research.

  • Conversation with The Cancer Letter

    UAB Cancer Center receives $30 million naming gift from O’Neal Industries

    The University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center has received a $30 million gift from O’Neal Industries Inc., a family-owned global business based in Birmingham.

  • In Appreciation

    Lisa Schwartz, expert in overtreatment and pathbreaking educator, dies at 55

    Lisa Schwartz, professor of Medicine and of Community and Family Medicine at Dartmouth Medical School died on November 29 after a seven-year struggle with cancer—a terrible loss to all who knew her.

  • Obituary

    Charles A. Coltman Jr., long-time SWOG chair and co-founder of the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, dies at 88

    Charles A. Coltman Jr., a pioneer of treatment of leukemia and lymphoma, a long-time chair of SWOG, and a co-founder of the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, died after a long illness on Nov. 28. He was 88.

  • In Brief

    • Wafik El-Deiry to lead cancer biology program at Brown 
    • Emory Proton Therapy Center opens
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  • Clinical Roundup

    • Kite announces two-year data for Yescarta in patients with refractory large B-cell lymphoma
    • Kite announces updated data from ZUMA-3 study of KTE-X19 in adult patients with relapsed or refractory ALL 
    • Ibrutinib + rituximab superior to standard treatment for some patients with CLL
    • Data from phase I/II open-label study of BCMA-directed CAR-T cell therapy lcar-b38m show tolerable safety profile, high response and MRD-negative rate in advanced r/r multiple myeloma
    • New long-term data on acalabrutinib in mantle cell lymphoma and CLL
    • Geron announces OS data from IMbark in Imetelstat-treated patients with intermediate or high-risk myelofibrosis and r/r to JAK inhibitor
    • New long-term data on Calquence presented
    • Combination immunotherapy shows high activity against recurrent Hodgkin lymphoma
    • Karyopharm reports positive top-line phase IIb SADAL data for Selinexor in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma
    • Celgene announces initial phase I/II liso-cel data in patients with r/r CLL
  • Drugs & Targets

    • FDA approves Tecentriq + Avastin and carboplatin for initial treatment of specific type of metastatic lung cancer
    • FDA publishes draft guidance on class labeling of in vitro companion diagnostics for classes of drugs in oncology
    • FDA publishes framework document on real-world evidence
  • NCI Trials

    NCI Trials for December

    The National Cancer Institute Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program approved the following clinical research studies last month.

Issue 44 - Nov 30, 2018
  • FDA approves second drug for a site-agnostic indication; larotrectinib was tested across 17 cancer types

    Vitrakvi (larotrectinib) aims to treat a very small group of people—some say fewer than 3,000 new patients a year in the U.S. And since these patients have diseases that span multiple tumor sites, finding them isn’t easy.

  • How we isolated the TRK oncogene

    was very surprised to see in an issue of the NEJM earlier this year that Loxo Oncology had developed a selective TRK inhibitor, larotrectinib, and even more surprised to learn that TRK fusions occur in about 1 percent of all human cancers.

  • Conversation with The Cancer Letter

    Hyman: “This approval adds to the growing utility of sequencing in patients with cancer”

    As Vitrakvi (larotrectinib) becomes the second drug to get FDA approval for a site-agnostic indication, physicians will have yet another reason to order sequencing, said David Hyman, chief of the Early Drug Development Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and the principal investigator for a larotrectinib clinical trial that led to the approval. 

  • Cancer groups: CMS proposal to lower drug prices would limit access for patients in “protected classes”

    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has proposed a drug-pricing plan that administration officials say would offer lower cost options to seniors and provide support for the private sector to lower the cost of prescription drugs.

  • Guest Editorial

    Reasons for hope for acute myeloid leukemia patients

    On the eve of the Thanksgiving holiday, FDA delivered a flurry of decisions: approvals for two therapies—venetoclax and glasdegib—to treat a deadly form of blood cancer called acute myeloid leukemia (AML), and a priority review designation for another therapy—quizartinib—to treat the same disease. A fourth therapy to treat AML—gilteritinib—received an FDA approval on Nov. 28.

  • In Brief

    • The Pancreatic Cancer Collective awards $7 million in first-round “New Therapies Challenge” grants
    • Oren Cahlon named associate deputy physician-in-chief of MSK’s Regional Care Network
    • Weill Cornell Medicine awarded $9 million grant for mantle cell lymphoma research
    • UPenn’s Abramson Cancer Center joins NCCN as member institution
    • New CPRIT Scholar Grants recruit talent to Texas institutions
    • Huntsman Cancer Institute breaks ground for Utah’s first proton therapy center
    • David Kerstein named chief medical officer of Anchiano Therapeutics
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  • Clinical Roundup

    • Brain cancer immunotherapy SurVaxM extends survival
    • Avelumab in platinum-resistant/refractory ovarian cancer did not meet OS and PFS endpoints
  • Drugs & Targets

    • FDA grants Venclextra accelerated approval for newly-diagnosed AML
    • FDA approves Daurismo for newly-diagnosed AML in adults 75 years and older
    • FDA approves gilteritinib for relapsed or refractory AML with a FLT3 mutation
    • FDA approves Truxima as biosimilar to Rituxan for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
Issue 43 - Nov 16, 2018
  • Artificial intelligence can entrench disparities—here’s what we must do

    Heinz Von Foerster, the renowned Austrian-American physicist and cybernetics scholar, declared that “information can be considered as order wrenched from disorder.1” Ever-increasing amounts of digital data and new computational tools promise that technological developments such as artificial intelligence (AI) will bring order, clarity, and new solutions in multiple areas—from transportation to criminal justice.

  • Guest Editorial

    Trump pricing plans are pretentious, could impede access, and will not help much

    Oct. 25, we heard more about President Trump’s plan to save health care dollars through a variety of Medicare pilot programs and index pricing.

  • In Brief

    • Cornelis Melief receives 2018 ESMO Immuno-Oncology Award
    • Roswell Park partners with Jagiellonian University in Kraków
    • NCCS presents third annual Ellen Stovall Award to Gay Crawford and Norman Coleman
    • IU researchers awarded $2.3 million to continue studies on CIPN
    • UVA researchers awarded $1.8 million to test breast cancer approach
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  • Trials & Tribulations

    Deciphering genomic testing options for diverse patient populations in early-stage breast cancer

    In my twenty-two years of practicing medicine, I have observed the evolution of genomic testing and its increasing utility in oncology.

    With the growing interest in precision medicine for breast cancer patients, I have found it important to decipher the differences between the two most clinically validated genomic tests, MammaPrint and Oncotype DX, and their phase III trials, MINDACT and TAILORx, respectively.

  • Clinical Roundup

    • Cardiovascular toxicities seen early in treatment with immune checkpoint inhibitors
    • Breast screening linked to 60 percent lower risk of breast cancer death in first 10 years
    • Fecal transplant effective against immunotherapy-induced colitis
    • Biodesix test predicts response to atezolizumab in lung cancer
    • Keytruda significantly improved OS compared to chemotherapy in PD-L1 advanced esophageal or esophagogastric junction carcinoma
    • Pfizer introduces biosimilar Retacrit injection in the U.S. at a substantial discount
    • Initial data from AMBER trial of TSR-022 + TSR-042 demonstrates clinical activity in progression following anti-PD-1 treatment
    • Zymeworks announces updated clinical data for novel bispecific antibody, ZW25
    • Gradalis presents initial data from phase II U.S. trial for Ewing’s sarcoma
  • Drugs & Targets

    • Using review pilot program, FDA takes two weeks to approve first-line treatment for peripheral T-cell lymphoma
    • FDA accepts novel clinical trial endpoint in approving Erleada for prostate cancer
    • CHMP gives positive opinion for Kisqali combination therapy for all women with HR+/HER2- locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer
    • FDA grants priority review for Tecentriq + Abraxane for metastatic triple-negative breast cancer
    • Immunomedics expands clinical collaboration with AstraZeneca to include metastatic NSCLC
    • Ziopharm Oncology announces Immuno-oncology Clinical Supply Agreement with Regeneron to evaluate combination therapy for brain cancer