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
Issue 31 - Aug 4, 2017
  • AACR’s Project GENIE about to release second dataset, creating the largest publicly available genomic database

    Project GENIE, a publicly available genomic data repository created and run by the American Association for Cancer Research, has amassed 18,804 de-identified records, and is on track to release another large dataset early this fall.

    Launched in 2015, Project GENIE, short for the AACR Project Genomics Evidence Neoplasia Information Exchange, is a multi-phase, multi-year international data-sharing initiative that seeks to catalyze precision oncology through the development of a regulatory-grade registry.

  • Conversation with The Cancer Letter

    Charles Sawyers: Project GENIE demonstrates what a coalition of willing institutions is able to do

    When former Vice President Joe Biden sought to convene and cajole cancer organizations into breaking down silos as part of the Cancer Moonshot, he frequently expressed frustration about reluctance on the part of cancer organizations to share data.

    “You’re not going to like this, but imagine if you all worked together,” Biden said at the 2016 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. “I’m not joking! Imagine if you all worked together.” (The Cancer Letter, June 10, 2016).

  • Ned Sharpless set to leave UNC job Aug 4; Starting date as NCI director not publicly known

    Norman “Ned” Sharpless, the scientist slated to be the next NCI director, is departing from his current job, that of director of UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, sources said.

    While it’s confirmed that Aug. 4 is Sharpless’s last day at Lineberger, it’s less clear what his first day at NCI would be, though insiders say he would likely report to work at the institute by the end of August.

  • Conversation with The Cancer Letter

    More than three million life-years added over 60 years as a result of SWOG clinical trials

    A SWOG study estimates that implementation of findings from that group’s clinical trials has added 3.34 million years to the lives of cancer patients in the 60 years since its founding in 1956.

    The primary question the researchers sought to answer was: “How have the NCI–sponsored network cooperative cancer research groups benefited patients with cancer in the general population?”

  • Guest Editorial

    Senate passes a “right to try” bill; Harm to patients comes next

    Patients for whom there are no existing treatments watch with desperation as a potentially helpful new drug spends years working its way from a lab bench, through clinical trials, and finally to the FDA, where reviewers consider it for approval.

    To help those who don’t qualify for clinical trials but wish to try experimental drugs as a last treatment option, the FDA allows patients’ physicians to apply for “compassionate use” of experimental medications through its expanded access program, which allows seriously ill patients without other treatment options to access investigational, unapproved drugs and devices outside of a clinical trial.

  • In Brief

    • Ramon Parsons named director of Tisch Cancer Institute at Mt. Sinai
    • ASTRO names 23 members to 2017 class of “fellows”
    • Emmanuel Quien joins the Fox Chase Cancer Center Department of Hematology/Oncology
  • Drugs and Targets

    • Enasidenib, companion diagnostic get FDA approval for relapsed or refractory AML
    • Vyxeos gets FDA approval for first treatment for types of poor-prognosis AML
    • Opdivo gets FDA accelerated approval for MSI-H/dMMR colorectal cancer
    • FDA expands ibrutinib indications to chronic GVHD
    • Amgen, Allergan submit biosimilar application for ABP 980 to FDA
    • Kite files the first CAR-T application in Europe for axicabtagene ciloleucel
    • BMS to acquire IFM Therapeutics to focus on innate immunity
    • BMS, Clovis form collaboration to evaluate Opdivo and Rubraca
    • Loxo Oncology acquires highly selective, reversible BTK inhibitor
    • MedStar Health partners with Indivumed to advance precision oncology research
  • Funding Opportunities

    • NETRF announces grants for neuroendocrine cancer research
Issue 30 - Jul 28, 2017
  • Pediatric MATCH starts to accrue children with recurrent and refractory cancers

    NCI and the Children’s Oncology Group opened enrollment in Pediatric Molecular Analysis for Therapy Choice—Pediatric MATCH—a long-awaited precision medicine trial.

    Pediatric MATCH, a series of single-arm phase II trials, will seek to screen between 200 and 300 patients per year, with the goal of screening 1,000 patients over four years, assigning children to therapies that target genomic characteristics of their diseases.

  • Conversation with The Cancer Letter

    Will Parsons: This is a fantastic opportunity to test precision oncology for pediatric patients in a large-scale way

    Though NCI-MATCH and Pediatric MATCH are similar in structure, they represent different approaches to oncology.

    While a small minority of adult cancer patients in the U.S. get treated on-protocol, in pediatric oncology only a small proportion of patients receive care off-protocol. Altogether 90 percent of childhood cancer patients are treated at institutions that are part of Children’s Oncology Group.

  • Conversation with The Cancer Letter

    Rita Redberg: FDA proposal to delay reporting of device malfunctions “should be tossed”

    A recent proposal to delay reporting of device malfunctions to FDA will weaken the already inadequate medical device reporting system at the agency, said Rita Redberg, a professor of medicine and cardiologist at the University of California San Francisco.

    Redberg, editor of JAMA Internal Medicine, has been studying adverse event reporting and medical device surveillance issues for over a decade. She often opines on recommendations of U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, and in 2014, as chair of an advisory committee for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Redberg presided over the panel that expressed low confidence in low-dose CT screening for lung cancer (The Cancer Letter, May 9, 2014).

  • In Brief

    • Carlos Arteaga to head UT Southwestern Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center
    • Larry Copeland appointed president of GOG Foundation
    • Edith Mitchell receives 2017 ASTRO Honorary Membership
    • SU2C-Lustgarten Foundation team aims to apply CAR T-cell therapy to pancreatic cancer
    • Andrew Baschnagel wins UW Carbone Cancer Center award for lung cancer study
    • Cancer groups release statement on health disparities research
    • Report shows cancer patients struggle to afford treatment
    • Christiana Care Gene Editing Institute, NovellusDx form personalized medicine partnership
  • Drugs and Targets

    • FDA expands approval of Yervoy to include pediatric patients 12 years and older with unresectable or metastatic melanoma
    • FDA accepts BMS applications for Opdivo four-week dosing schedule across approved indications
    • Novartis receives positive CHMP opinion for Rydapt for newly diagnosed FLT3-mutated AML, three types of advanced systemic mastocytosis
    • AstraZeneca and Merck from oncology collaboration
    • CHMP issues positive opinion for avelumab for metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma