Issue 23 - Jun 9, 2017
  • How drugs go viral: Flatiron’s real-world data show how uptake happens

    The graphs make it seem so simple:

    Doctors learn about a new therapy. They start to prescribe it. A standard of care is born. In a matter of months.

  • Conversation with The Cancer Letter

    Maria Koehler: Real-world data is “truly a revolution”

    Real-world evidence is more than just another way of tracking post-market patterns in drug utilization, said Maria Koehler, vice president of oncology strategy, innovation and collaborations at Pfizer Oncology.

    New technology for tracking real-world data may soon change the way pharmaceutical companies approach drug development. By analyzing real-time data, industry can use robust evidence from oncology practices to update drug labels, track market trends, and adjust production.

  • Francis Collins to stay on as NIH director in Trump administration

    Donald Trump has asked Francis Collins to remain in his job as NIH director.

    The move means that, as an official of the Trump administration, Collins will have to at least make an appearance of supporting its FY 2018 budget proposal, which would slash NIH by 21 percent and cut indirect costs charged by institutions that house NIH-funded researchers (The Cancer Letter, May 26).

  • Conversation with The Cancer Letter

    Michael Birrer named director of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center

    Michael Birrer, an expert in early detection and treatment of gynecologic cancers, was named director of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center.

    Birrer, whose job at UAB starts Aug. 1, is director of Medical Gynecologic Oncology and director of the Gynecologic Cancer Research Program at the Massachusetts General Hospital Gillette Cancer Center. Also, he serves as the leader of the Dana Farber/Harvard Cancer Center program in gynecologic cancers and is a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

  • Obituary

    Angela Hartley Brodie, pioneer in the development of breast cancer treatment, dies at 82

    Angela Hartley Brodie, professor emeritus in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and a scientist whose groundbreaking research is considered among the greatest advances in treating breast cancer, died of complications from Parkinson’s disease at her home in Fulton, MD. She was 82.

    Brodie pioneered the development of aromatase inhibitor. Her work developing aromatase inhibitors was a paradigm-shifting effort that began in the 1970s and was designed to reduce the level of the estrogen in the body and thereby block the growth of cancer cells.

  • Aggressive marketing transforms tobacco use into social justice issue, report states

    Tobacco use should be addressed as a social justice issue, according to a recent report by Action on Smoking and Health.

    “Aggressive industry marketing targeted at African-Americans, Native American, and the LGBTQI community and others has resulted in a disproportionate level of the overall tobacco burden being borne by those who can financially least endure it,” states a report released for World No Tobacco Day on May 31.

  • In Brief

    • Ben Melson rejoins MD Anderson as chief financial officer
    • Jeffrey Molter named director of communications at NYU Perlmutter Cancer Center
    • ACCC delivers immunotherapy education in community setting
    • Andy North & Friends raise $1.05 million for UW Carbone Cancer Center
  • Drugs and Targets

    • BMS, Novartis announce collaboration focused on metastatic colorectal cancer
    • Roche announces FDA approval of companion diagnostic to identify ALK-positive non-small cell lung cancer patients
    • FDA Approves Hologic’s Genius 3D Mammography Exam
    • Amgen and Allergan announce FDA advisory committee meeting to review ADP 215, a biosimilar candidate to Bevacizumab
    • Hitachi and MD Anderson to collaborate in research in oropharyngeal cancer
  • Funding Opportunities

    • DOD publishes research opportunities in prostate cancer
Issue 22 - Jun 2, 2017
  • Flatiron compiles rich data on the uptake of PD-1 inhibitor drugs; A case study in real-world evidence?

    Utilization data compiled by Flatiron Health and made available to The Cancer Letter make it possible to visualize the dramatic uptake of immunotherapy drugs in the academic and community settings.

    The data illustrate nothing less than the real-time anatomy of the creation of a new standard of care in oncology. Charts, bars and tables published here first show these drugs emerge in the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer in early 2015 and rapidly build momentum.

  • Conversation with The Cancer Letter

    Cary Gross: We need to learn to analyze real-world evidence rigorously

    Cary Gross, professor of medicine and of epidemiology at Yale School of Medicine, has been working with a dataset of 35,000 non-small cell lung cancer patients, looking for signs of disparities in access to PD-1 checkpoint inhibitors.

    Working with data gathered by Flatiron Health, Gross has also been pondering the role real-world evidence can legitimately play in the development and approval of cancer drugs.

  • Conversation with The Cancer Letter

    A nascent group of academics plans to conduct randomized trials to determine value of care

    group of cancer researchers is trying to conducting randomized trials aimed at maximizing the value of oncology treatment regimens. 

    The group, called the Value in Cancer Care Consortium, is headed by Allen Lichter, former CEO of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

  • MD Anderson posts four months of positive operating margins as deficit shrinks to $43.9 million

    MD Anderson Cancer Center reported positive operating margins after posting losses over the first four months of the fiscal year.

    Between September and December, the institution’s losses totaled $169.4 million, but between January and April, operating revenues added up to $125.5 million.

  • MD Anderson settles trademark litigation with Pelotonia, Soon-Shiong

    MD Anderson Cancer Center has settled two separate trademark suits protecting the Houston-based cancer center’s Moonshot program.

    One of the actions settled was filed against Pelotonia, a non-profit that coordinates a bike ride that raises money for The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center—Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard Solove Research Institute. MD Anderson claimed in a lawsuit that Pelotonia’s taglines “One Goal” and “One Goal: End Cancer” infringe the Houston cancer center’s trademark “One goal. Stop cancer” (The Cancer Letter, April 14).

  • In Brief

    • CancerLinQ partners with FDA to study real-world use of newly approved cancer treatments
    • NCCN and CancerLinQ collaborating to provide evidence-based, decision-making resources to physicians
    • First analysis of AACR Project GENIE data is published in Cancer Discovery
    • National Breast Cancer Coalition partners with DNA.Land to crowdsource large-scale breast cancer genomics database
    • Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center is dedicated in Omaha
    • University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute becomes UPMC Hillman Cancer Center
    • Markus Müschen named to The Norman and Sadie Lee Foundation Professorship in Pediatrics at COH
  • Drugs and Targets

    • Zykadia gets first-line ALK-positive metastatic NSCLC indication
    • Advaxis and BMS announce collaboration focused on metastatic cervical cancer
    • Johns Hopkins and Eisai extend drug collaboration
Issue 21 - May 26, 2017
  • Amy Reed, physician and patient who “moved mountains” to end widespread use of power morcellation, dies at 44

    When Amy Reed enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania medical school in 2001, she could not have possibly imagined that she would save more lives as a patient than as a physician.

    The final phase of her medical education began on Oct. 17, 2013, when Reed, then 41, checked in at Brigham & Women’s Hospital—her husband’s workplace at that time—to undergo a common gynecological procedure that would fundamentally redefine her career, and, ultimately, consume her life.

  • Trump would cut over 20 percent of NIH, NCI budgets in new FY18 proposal

    The White House has proposed cutting $7.2 billion from the NIH budget, with $1.2 billion coming out of NCI—a proposal that, if supported by Congress, would eviscerate the cancer research enterprise in the United States, critics say.

    NIH stands to lose 21 percent in the Trump administration’s updated fiscal 2018 budget proposal, which would reduce the NIH budget to $26.92 billion. Also, the White House proposes to cut $1.2 billion from NCI’s budget—a 20 percent loss.

  • Obituary

    H. Jean Khoury, 50, hematologist and pioneer in leukemia research, dies

    H. Jean Khoury, an expert in hematologic malignancies at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, died May 22, after a year spent battling cancer. He was 50.

    Khoury, whose work focused on chronic myeloid leukemia, acute leukemia, and myelodysplasticsyndrome, joined Winship in 2004 as director of the Leukemia Program, director of the Division of Hematology, and associate professor in the Emory School of Medicine. In 2009, he was promoted to professor in the Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology, and was later named to the R. Randall Rollins Chair in Oncology.

  • ODAC votes 12-4 to recommend approval for kinase inhibitor used after completion of trastuzumab 

    The FDA Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee May 24 voted 12-4 to recommend approval of neratinib for the extended adjuvant treatment of adult patients with early-stage ERBB2-positive breast cancer who have received prior adjuvant trastuzumab-based therapy.

    The drug, which has the trade name Nerlynx, is sponsored by Puma Biotechnology Inc.

  • In Brief

    • Carl June to receive ASCO’s Karnofsky award, Eric Winer—Bonadonna award, Brian Druker—Science of Oncology award
    • ACR Gold Medals go to Bruce Hillman, John Patti, and Jeffrey Weinreb 
    • A $100 million gift establishes a UChicago institute focused on microbiome and immunity 
    • NCI awards Fred Hutch $24 million to operate contact center for patients 
    • Karmanos wins federal grant renewal for membership in Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials Consortium 
    • NCCN funds two studies through collaboration with AstraZeneca to evaluate effectiveness of osimertinib
    • Saint Luke’s and Washington University School of Medicine announce clinical trials affiliation 

     

  • Drugs and Targets

    • Keytruda gets accelerated approval based on a genetic feature—first such action
    • Debiopharm acquires antibody-drug conjugate compound from ImmunoGen