20160531 - May 31, 2016
MAY 31, 2016 

University of Maryland Cancer Center Earns Comprehensive Designation

The University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center has earned the designation as an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The center announced the NCI designation May 31.

On Aug. 1, when the designation goes in effect, Maryland will become one of the 46 Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the U.S.

    20160527 - May 27, 2016
    ISSUE 21 – May 27, 2016PDF

    Slamming the Door – Part XIII

    Chair of CPRIT Oversight Committee:

    “Better to Get Them All Out of the Way Now”

    What were Texas politicians and CPRIT officials thinking as they were pounded by blistering letters of resignation?

    Condemnation seemed to be rolling off their backs as they marched toward what they thought was their great triumph.

    Jimmy Mansour, chairman of CPRIT’s oversight committee, mistakenly hit Reply All, sending an especially contemptuous email to a scientist who was announcing his resignation from CPRIT. In the email that came into public view because of his sloppiness, Mansour, a telecommunications entrepreneur, belittles scientists and the peer review process.

    Conversation with The Cancer Letter

    Candace Johnson: A New Vision for Roswell Park

    Since Candace Johnson’s appointment as president and CEO of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in February 2015, the institute has recruited 22 new faculty members and promoted 19 faculty members into senior leadership positions.

    “I’m a new leader. I have a new style, a new vision of where Roswell Park is going,” Johnson, the Wallace Family Chair in Translational Research, said to The Cancer Letter. “We have new and different challenges, and unless my entire workforce understood these challenges and embraced the changes I’ve been implementing, we wouldn’t have a chance.”

    ASCO Cervical Cancer Guideline Addresses Global Disparities

    The American Society of Clinical Oncology issued its first clinical practice guideline for invasive cervical cancer.

    The guideline provides evidence-based recommendations for four tiers based on available resources for cervical cancer screening and treatment: basic, limited, enhanced and maximal. For each setting, and for each stage of cervical cancer, the guideline recommends optimal therapy and palliative care. The guideline was published in the Journal of Global Oncology and was endorsed by the Society of Gynecologic Oncology.

    Survey: 28 Percent of Doctors See Clinical Trials as Last Resort

    Only 40 percent of Americans have a positive overall impression of clinical trials, according to a national survey conducted for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

    The survey, which polled over 2,100 people including nearly 600 physicians, found that 28 percent of doctors considered clinical trials as treatments of last resort.

    In Brief
    • Northwestern to host 5k coinciding with ASCO’s annual meeting in Chicago
    • The Canadian Cancer Society and Merck to collaborate on New Horizons project

    • American Skin Association presents annual awards

    • Margaret Foti honored by Ovarcome foundation

    • Seattle Children’s and Juno Therapeutics to collaborate on T-cell immunotherapies

    • Memorial Sloan Kettering and Hunter Douglas establish graduate fellowship

    • University of Chicago and Blue Cross and Blue Shield launch oncology medical home

    • Lightpoint Medical signs agreement for Beta Emission Tomography technology from University of Arizona researchers

    Drugs and Targets
    • CHMP issues positive opinion for Kyprolis in multiple myeloma

    • ProNAi Therapeutics and Carna Biosciences to commercialize AS-141


    20160520 - May 20, 2016
    ISSUE 20 – May 20, 2016PDF

    NCI Identifies Moonshot Priorities

    NCI is working to provide five to ten recommendations for Vice President Joe Biden’s cancer moonshot program, officials said at a recent advisory committee meeting.

    At a meeting of the Frederick National Laboratory Advisory Committee May 11, top NCI officials described the mechanisms that will be used to provide recommendations for spending new money that may be directed at cancer research.

    The institute’s Blue Ribbon Panel—consisting of 28 members representing academia, government, industry and patient advocates—has assembled seven working groups.

    Guest Editorial

    Nancy Davidson: Capturing the Moonshot’s Momentum

    Vice President Joe Biden’s National Cancer Moonshot Initiative has touched off an unprecedented national and international dialogue about cancer.

    My presidential year at the American Association for Cancer Research brings the special opportunity to ensure that this momentum is captured and fully utilized to position cancer research as the key to saving more lives from cancer.

    The AACR has been and continues to be a trusted adviser to the vice president on this important initiative.

    Capitol Hill

    House Committee Provides Forum for Opponents of Part B Payment Model

    A Congressional committee earlier this week provided a venue for opponents of a controversial Medicare Part B payment model to argue against its implementation by Centers for Medicaid Services.

    Witnesses at the May 17 hearing of the health subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce said the payment model would make it difficult for Medicare patients to obtain care, and one witness likened the model to an unethical clinical trial. Also, in what couldn’t be a coincidence, two witnesses—representing patients with immune deficiencies and rheumatology—submitted written testimony that contained identical paragraphs.

    In Brief
    • James Brink elected chair of American College of Radiology
    • Michael Kaplan named president and CEO of Melanoma Research Alliance

    • Hong-yu Li named Arkansas Research Alliance Scholar and endowed chair

    • CPRIT awards 35 grants totaling $79.2 million

    • Senate marks up FDA tobacco regulation appropriations

    Drugs and Targets
    • FDA grants accelerated approvals to Tecentriq and Opdivo

    • FDA warns doctors about counterfeit BiCNU


    20160513 - May 13, 2016
    ISSUE 19 – May 13, 2016PDF

    art 42-19 showdown

    CMS Drug Payment Experiment Heads Toward Showdown on Capitol Hill

    A demonstration project in which the Centers for Medicare& Medicaid Services hopes to investigate the impact of reimbursement based on Average Sales Prices of drugs is running into strong opposition, as a large number of cancer groups submitted public comments urging the agency to abandon the endeavor.

    The agency’s stated goal for tweaking the ASP-based reimbursement formula is to learn whether it gives physicians the incentive to prescribe the most expensive treatments available.

    Opponents—including oncology professional groups and pharmaceutical companies—say that experimentation with ASP-based reimbursement, which is currently set at ASP plus 4.3 percent, will make it economically unfeasible for oncology practices to treat Medicare patients.

    Agus: $200 Million Interdisciplinary Institute to Focus on Data Modeling

    A few years ago, at dinner with technology entrepreneur Larry Ellison, David Agus, director of the University of Southern California Center for Applied Molecular Medicine, mentioned his dream of opening an interdisciplinary cancer center.

    “I said, it really would be an amazing thing if we could start to get people in one place and have residences, so the greatest physicists, mathematicians, engineers can actually come in and live there and be engrossed in cancer,” said Agus, professor at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and USC Viterbi School of Engineering.

    ““Well, how much would it be to kind of put together such a building and program?” Ellison, Oracle Corporation’s chairman of the board and chief technology officer, said to Agus at the time.

    “You know, about $200 million,” Agus said.

    “Done,” Ellison responded.

    Slamming the Door

    Part XII: Scientists Vote with Their Feet

    In their op-ed piece, Gilman and Sharp stated what it would take to fix CPRIT’s problems. That was the polite version of the Gilman Plan.

    The spoken version was more blunt: get rid of the “assholes” on the oversight board, jettison the administrators, then—maybe—CPRIT’s credibility would be restored.

    NIH Makes Sweeping Changes in Clinical Center Governance

    The NIH Clinical Center will be placed under a new system of governance, similar to that of hospitals.

    Replacing Director John Gallin and the current management structure, NIH has begun “the process of changing the leadership structure of the Clinical Center to model those of world class hospitals in the United States,” institute officials said in a statement.

    ACS Report Assesses Progress in 25-Year Goal Against Mortality

    The American Cancer Society published a report assessing the progress made in its 25-year goal to reduce cancer death rates by 50 percent. The report finds areas where progress was substantial, and others where it was not.

    The report, appearing in the ACS journal CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, said the best improvements were seen in cancers for which prevention, early detection, and treatment tools are available, including cancers of the lung, colon, breast, and prostate.

    In Brief
    • Brigham Does Not Contest Plaintiffs’ Offers of Proof as Morcellation Cases Proceed
    • American Urological Association presents 2016 awards at annual meeting
    • Tom Andrus named chief digital officer at Prostate Cancer Foundation
    • Stand Up to Cancer and Boston College publish nursing training modules in immunotherapy
    • CancerCare publishes report on patient access and engagement
    • Cancer Support Community Benjamin Center presents awards
    • City of Hope receives $2.3 million R01 grant from NCI
    • BioDelivery Sciences International and Collegium Pharmaceutical form collaboration
    • Thomas Jefferson University joins TriNetX research network
    • UCLA and Leica Biosystems to collaborate in digital pathology
    • St. Jude raises $4 million in campaign Univision
    • PhRMA members invested $58.8 billion in R&D in 2015
    Drugs and Targets
    • FDA expands Imbruvica label to include CLL and SLL
    • Health Canada approves Imbruvica in Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia
    • Health Canada grants conditional approval to Ibrance in breast cancer


    20160506 - May 6, 2016
    ISSUE 18 – May 6, 2016PDF

    art 42-18 fda on the moon final

    Virtual is Not Enough

    FDA’s Critics Call for Full Integration of Oncology Center Under Biden’s Moonshot

    The White House moonshot to accelerate progress in cancer research directs FDA to consolidate its oncology portfolio.

    However, oncology insiders say the manner in which the presidential initiative will be implemented could make the difference between political balderdash and genuine improvement in FDA regulation of cancer therapies.

    The entire controversy boils down to the interpretation of one word: Virtual.

    Moonshot Director Addresses AAADV Workshop

    Greg Simon, executive director of the cancer moonshot task force, addressed the FDA-sponsored workshop for Accelerating Anticancer Agent Development and Validation in North Bethesda, Md., May 4.

    He discussed the goals for the moonshot initiative, how the program could fit into the next presidential administration, and how to take the project international.

    Slamming the Door

    Part XI: Gilman’s Teachable Moment

    During our first conversation in the spring of 2012, Gilman said that he would go public unless he received assurances that CPRIT would retain its integrity after his departure.

    He wanted guarantees that the structure he built would not be turned into a political pigsty. With guarantees being hard to come by, it was obvious that he would end up slamming the door hard. Publicly.

    FDA to Regulate All Tobacco Products, Including E-Cigs, In Historic Expansion

    FDA issued final regulations for all tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, cigars and hookah. The rules, with provisions aimed at restricting youth access and requiring premarket clearance for new products, will take effect Aug. 8.

    The federal regulations include: not allowing tobacco products to be sold to persons under the age of 18, both in person and online; requiring age verification by photo ID; not allowing the selling of covered tobacco products in vending machines, unless in an adult-only facility; and not allowing the distribution of free samples.

    National Academy of Sciences Elects 105 Members

    The National Academy of Sciences elected 84 new members and 21 foreign associates from 14 countries in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

    Those elected today bring the total number of active members to 2,291 and the total number of foreign associates to 465. Foreign associates are nonvoting members of the academy.

    Funding Opportunity

    CureSearch Taking Applications
    For Pediatric Research Awards

    CureSearch for Children’s Cancer is taking applications for its International Grand Challenge Awards addressing three challenges in pediatric cancer treatment. The awards will be worth between $2 million and $3 million.

    In Brief
    • American Cancer Society and CVS Health launch three-year antismoking campaign
    • Pershing Square Sohn Research Alliance funds seven young investigators

    • Sean Parker recognized by the Vatican for philanthropic work

    • Richard O’Reilly receives inaugural Society of Memorial Sloan Kettering Prize

    • David Weiner receives professorship and grant from W.W. Smith Charitable Trust

    • Canadian Cancer Clinical Trials Network launches national awareness campaign

    Drugs and Targets
    • Eribulin receives EU approval in liposarcoma

    • Health Canada approves Lynparza in ovarian cancer

    • CHMP issues positive opinions for Imbruvica and Afinitor

    • AstraZeneca and Foundation Medicine to collaborate on diagnostic assays

    • AbbVie and CytomX Therapeutics to collaborate on probody drug conjugates


    20160429 - Apr 29, 2016
    ISSUE 17 – April 29, 2016PDF

    Guest Editorial

    The Moonshot: A View from Europe

    By Peter Boyle

    “And I believe we need a moonshot in this country to cure cancer.”

    With these words, Vice-President Joe Biden gave the first public hint of a new specific, major program to be launched and funded by the U.S. government.

    President Barack Obama reiterated this development in his State of the Union address announcing a new national effort to get it done and placing Vice President Biden as leader of this initiative.

    The appointment of Vice President Biden to head the initiative is an inspired choice.

    Of course, let’s not forget that in 1971 President Richard Nixon launched a not dissimilar initiative and yet 45 years later, there still remains an on-going war against this feared group of diseases, despite progress in many aspects. Times change, knowledge advances, and there are many signs that this new initiative holds out a better chance of success.


    NCI’s New Genomic Platform Seeks to Enable Data Sharing for Biden’s Moonshot

    NCI is preparing to open the Genomic Data Commons, a $20 million big data endeavor aimed at making raw genomic data publicly available.

    The GDC, NCI’s largest bioinformatics effort since the ill-fated caBIG, will go live June 1. The database will be interoperable and publicly available to qualified researchers. Anyone will be able to submit data for consideration.

    While work on the GDC began over two years ago, the initiative is being launched at a time when leading oncology groups are positioning themselves to play a central role in the White House’s moonshot initiative.

    Conversation with The Cancer Letter

    NCI’s Staudt and Kibbe: Data Commons Will Publish Annotated Raw Genomic Data

    The Genomic Data Commons, NCI’s latest big data project, is poised to become a major player in oncology bioinformatics when it opens June 1.

    The GDC aims to become oncology’s go-to database for comprehensive, raw genomics information. NCI officials said this sets the GDC apart from other bioinformatics projects, which are vying to play a role in the White House moonshot initiative.

    “When the other groups are sharing the data, what they are doing is sharing very derived data that is divorced from the actual data,” said Louis Staudt, director of NCI’s Center for Cancer Genomics. “The GDC is doing something different.”

    Capitol Hill

    Senate Committee Looks to Fund Medical Innovation Legislation

    Over 150 organizations sent an open letter to the leaders of the Senate Health, Labor, Educations and Pensions Committee, supporting them for advancing legislation that will form the basis of the Senate’s version of the 21st Century Cures Act, which passed the House last year.

    The Senate committee has passed 19 bills since February—collectively referred to as medical innovations legislation—which include agreements on NIH funding, support for the Precision Medicine Initiative, and changes to FDA and NIH hiring power. Now, the committee has to work to find ways to pay for the programs before sending the bills to the full Senate.

    PCORI Approves $44.4 Million for 21 Research Studies

    The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute approved $44.4 million in funding for 21 new patient-centered comparative clinical effectiveness research studies.

    Several studies will focus on cancer, including comparing ways to improve colorectal cancer screening, develop a more patient-centered approach to assessing the quality of care for people with cancer, and assessing the effectiveness of different treatment strategies for ductal carcinoma in situ among older women.

    In Brief
    • Jennifer Pietenpol named executive vice president for research at Vanderbilt

    • Margaret Foti named an honorary member of the Oncology Nursing Society

    • John Weston named chief operating officer of the Prostate Cancer Foundation

    • Al Benson III elected president of National Patient Advocate Foundation executive board

    • Avinash Desai named vice president at Eisai Inc. 

    • MD Anderson Cancer Center names eight Sabin Family Fellows

    • NCCN publishes patient education materials for NHL

    • Kids v Cancer launches Compassionate Use Navigator tools

    • Albert Einstein College of Medicine enters agreement with Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine

    • Wistar Institute and Cormorant Pharmaceuticals form drug partnership

    • MD Anderson and Summit Medical Group launch partnership in New Jersey

    • Geisinger Health System sets higher accrual goals for DNA sequencing study

    • AbbVie acquires Stemcentrx and Rova-T drug candidate

    • AbbVie forms collaboration with argenx in immuno-oncology

    • Indiana University raises $1.2 million for research at tailgate gala

    Drugs and Targets
    • FDA grants approval to Cabometyx tablets in renal cell carcinoma

    • FDA grants Orphan Drug Designation to DelMar’s VAL-083 


    20160422 - Apr 25, 2016
    ISSUE 16 – April 22, 2016PDF

    AACR 2016

    Biden Asks for Guidance in Leading Moonshot

    “There is more brain power in this room than exists in many countries,” said Vice President Joe Biden, addressing over 4,000 members of the American Association for Cancer Research, during a speech that turned personal at times, as he laid out several suggestions for accelerating progress.

    As head of the federal government’s cancer moonshot task force, the vice president listed recommendations he has received for reaching the initiative’s goal, not a cure, but completion of a decade’s worth of cancer research in five years. Recommendations include increasing research budgets across the federal government, making it easier to share data, removing paywalls around published research, and incentivizing verification of study results.

    “Toward that end, last year, the 2016 budget, and working with Congress, we were able to increase funding by $2 billion for the National Institutes of Health. The largest increase in a decade,” Biden said at the association’s annual meeting April 20 in New Orleans.


    Comparison with AstraZeneca Drug Hard to Ignore as ODAC Votes Down NSCLC Application from Clovis

    A phase III trial will be needed to determine approvability of the Clovis Oncology Inc. agent rociletinib for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer, the FDA Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee recommended.

    At a meeting April 12, ODAC in effect voted against granting an accelerated approval of rociletinib for the treatment of patients with mutant epidermal growth factor receptor non-small cell lung cancer who have been previously treated with an EGFR-targeted therapy and have the EGFR T790M mutation as detected by an FDA approved test.

    Guest Editorial

    Thirty Years after Chernobyl: Lessons Learned

    By Robert Peter Gale

    April 26 marks the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear power facility accident in the former Soviet Union. Soon after the accident, I received a call from the Soviet ambassador to the U.S. on behalf of Mikhail Gorbachev asking me to come immediately to Moscow.

    The world (but not Soviet citizens) had been following the spread of a radioactive cloud over Europe for several days and I offered the Soviet government access to advanced medical technologies I knew they lacked. I arrived to find about 205 of the most seriously-affected victims had been flown to Hospital 6 in Moscow connected to the Institute for Biophysics.

    AACR 2016 – In Brief

    Nancy Davidson Begins Term as AACR President; Weinberg Gets Lifetime Achievement Award

    Nancy Davidson was inaugurated as president of the American Association for Cancer Research for 2016-2017 at the association’s annual meeting in New Orleans.

    Davidson is the director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. She also serves as associate vice chancellor for cancer research; the Hillman professor of oncology; a distinguished professor of medicine and pharmacology and chemical biology; and a professor in the Clinical and Translational Science Institute at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Her research focuses on clinical and translational breast cancer research and cancer biology and treatment.


    Academy of Arts and Sciences Elects 213 Members

    The American Academy of Arts and Sciences elected 213 new members, including some of the world’s most accomplished scholars, scientists, writers, artists, as well as civic, business, and philanthropic leaders.

    BSA Approves Plan to Expand SEER Infrastructure, Funding, and Research Support Capacity

    The NCI Board of Scientific Advisors approved a proposal to expand the infrastructure and capacity of the SEER program, including introducing registries designed specifically to support cancer research projects, an increase of the program’s overall budget, and moving toward a more advanced, uniform data management system.

    The new structure of the surveillance program would create core registries, selected through a competition of the U.S. central cancer registries, which would then collect the most comprehensive data to be used for SEER statistics and public use.


    Cell Therapy Production, Patient Accrual Suspended at Rosenberg’s Lab at NCI

    NIH has suspended the facilities that produce investigational compounds for an NCI laboratory engaged in cell therapy production and a National Institute of Mental Health facility producing positron emission tomography materials.

    As a result, no new new patients will be enrolled in affected trials until the issues are resolved, NIH said in a press release.

     Drugs and Targets
    • FDA grants approval to Gilotrif tablets in squamous cell lung cancer

    • University of Chicago and AbbVie to form five-year collaboration

    20160415 - Apr 18, 2016
    ISSUE 15 – April 15, 2016PDF

    Parker Bets $250 Million on Immunotherapy

    A foundation established by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Sean Parker—founder of Napster and first president of Facebook—has committed $250 million to research in cancer immunotherapy.

    The newly founded Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy brings together immunologists from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Stanford University, UCLA, UCSF, MD Anderson Cancer Center and the University of Pennsylvania.


    Conversation with The Cancer Letter

    Parker Mantra: Collaborate Like Hell

    The Cancer Letter invited Jedd Wolchok, associate attending physician and chief of the Melanoma and Immunotherapeutics Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, to describe the workings of the just-announced Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy.

    Slamming the Door

    Part X – Silencing Faculty Voice

    In the fall of 2012, just before Al Gilman’s departure, MD Anderson officials cracked down on internal critics.

    On Sept. 26, 2012, Raphael Pollock, head of MD Anderson’s Division of Surgery, was summoned to the office of Thomas Burke, then the executive vice president and physician-in-chief, and was relieved of his duties.

    Pollock, who is Jewish, was fired on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.

    Letter to the Editor

    Former MD Anderson Provost Reflects on “Brief, Painful Episode”

    By Raymond DuBois

    Over the past several weeks, The Cancer Letter has been running a series of articles that report on a past conflict between people at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Nobel Laureate Al Gilman, who led the scientific review teams of the then newly formed Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.

    At the time of the controversy, I was the founding provost and executive vice president at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, a position I enjoyed greatly. While I have no desire to revisit this brief, and somewhat painful episode in my academic career, I have been written into Goldberg’s Texas drama as an important bit player and therefore feel compelled to go on record and provide my view of the story.

    FDA Inspects Hospitals for Morcellation Harm;
    Congressman Draws VP Biden’s Attention to Issue

    FDA has conducted inspections of several hospitals—including Brigham & Women’s Hospital—based on allegations that physicians and administrators did not report patient harm and deaths resulting from power morcellators.

    In a March 29 letter to Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), the agency said it “takes these issues very seriously.”

    “In recent months, we have conducted inspections of hospitals highlighted in your letter, including Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Rochester General Hospital, and the University of Rochester Medical Center,” FDA officials wrote, responding to a Dec. 18, 2015, letter from Fitzpatrick to the agency’s Office of Criminal Investigations.

    Stand Up to Cancer Debuts Catalyst Research Program With Merck, BMS and Genentech

    Stand Up to Cancer announced Catalyst, a program that will use funding and materials from the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, diagnostic and medical devices industries to accelerate research on cancer prevention, detection and treatment.

    Founding collaborator Merck; and Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, will serve as charter supporters.

    In Brief
    • Jeffrey Sosman named director of melanoma program at Northwestern

    • Eric Dishman named director of NIH Precision Medicine Initiative Cohort Program

    • Ed Sauter named director of breast surgery at Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute

    • Maya Martinez-Davis appointed global head of oncology franchise at Merck KGaA
    • Lynn Matrisian named chief research officer for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network

    • Karin Jooss named chief scientific officer of Gritstone Oncology

    • USPSTF publishes B recommendation for low-dose aspirin regimen for primary prevention of colorectal cancer and cardiovascular disease

    • International Myeloma Foundation to fund large screening study in Iceland

    • MD Anderson Cancer Center dedicates new personalized medicine building

    • UC Davis and Novogene establish campus genomics center

    • University of Florida signs proton therapy contract with Ion Beam Applications
    Drugs and Targets
    • FDA grants accelerated approval to Venclexta in CLL

    • FDA approved Epi proColon blood screening test

    • FDA granted priority review for atezolizumab in NSCLC

    20160408 - Apr 4, 2016
    ISSUE 14 – April 8, 2016PDF

    Jacks, Jaffee, Singer Named Co-Chairs of NCI’s Moonshot Blue Ribbon Panel

    NCI announced a panel of advisors to inform the scientific direction and goals of Vice President Joe Biden’s National Cancer Moonshot Initiative.

    The 28-member Blue Ribbon Panel, a committee of scientific experts, cancer leaders, and patient advocates, will serve as the working group of the National Cancer Advisory Board and provide scientific guidance from opinion leaders in the cancer community.


    FDA Allows Containment Bags for Power Morcellators; Paper Reports Leakage

    FDA granted permission to an Irish company to market the “PneumoLiner,” a first-of-its-kind containment system indicated for isolating and containing uterine tissue during a minimally invasive hysterectomy or myomectomy. The agency announced its action April 7.

    Gynecologists will soon be able to use the containment system—designed to prevent dissemination of potentially cancerous tissue—with specific models of power morcellators to conduct laparoscopic surgery in a limited population of women.

    ORIEN Partners with Pharma Companies to Develop Precision Medicines with Big Data

    The Oncology Research Information Exchange Network and M2Gen formed a bioinformatics collaboration with Celgene Corp.

    The partnership, announced April 7, is called the ORIEN Avatar Research Program. The initiative is managed by M2Gen and is designed to generate large amounts of genetic and clinical information on patients consenting to the Total Cancer Care Protocol, a standard operating protocol used by ORIEN member institutions.

    Caligiuri Named President-Elect of AACR

    Michael Caligiuri was named president-elect by the members of the American Association for Cancer Research. He will officially become president-elect at the AACR’s annual meeting in New Orleans, April 16-20, and will assume the presidency at the 2017 annual meeting.

    Caligiuri is director of The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center and CEO of the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute. He holds the John L. Marakas Nationwide Insurance Enterprise Foundation chair in cancer research and is a professor in The Ohio State University College of Medicine Departments of Molecular Virology, Immunology and Medical Genetics and Internal Medicine.

    In Brief
    • Timothy Eberlein elected Chairman of NCCN Board of Directors

    • Carbone Cancer Center joins NCCN as member institution

    • Larry Kwak wins 2013 Ho-Am Prize in Medicine

    • Joel Helmke named senior vice president of operations at City of Hope
    • Anne Jadwin honored by Sigma Theta Tau nursing honor society

    • Paul Bushdid joins Southern Research

    • Dana Farber and Ontario Institute for Cancer Research join OHSU and Intel’s data cloud program

    • RareCyte signs CRADA with NCI

    • IBM launches Watson center in Milan, Italy

    • Schulman IRB selected for Cancer MoonShot 2020 program
    Drugs and Targets
    • EU approves two-dose schedule for Gardasil 9

    • Halaven receives positive opinion from CHMP in liposarcomas

    • OncoBEAM RAS CRC test receives CE mark

    • University of Chicago and Evelo Biosciences enters licensing agreement
    20160401 - Apr 1, 2016
    ISSUE 13 – April 1, 2016PDF

    NCI Makes Plans for Moonshot Dollars

    At a meeting of the NCI Board of Scientific Advisors March 29, NCI officials had good news to report:

    • The appropriations are increasing, with bipartisan support to boot.

    • The White House “moonshot” initiative on cancer is bringing new money and new urgency to the institute’s work.

    The cancer program has seen many aggressive mandates and has made many big promises, and it’s worthwhile to remember this current initiative is being launched by an administration that is concluding its term.


    AVEO Execs Face Fraud Charges from SEC;

    Company to Pay $4 Million to Settle

    The Securities and Exchange Commission March 29 announced fraud charges against AVEO Pharmaceuticals Inc., a biotechnology company, and three of its former executives.

    SEC said the company agreed to pay a $4 million penalty to settle the charges without admitting or denying the allegations.

    The agency said it is continuing to pursue its case against three of AVEO’s former officers: CEO Tuan Ha-Ngoc, Chief Financial Officer David Johnston, and Chief Medical Officer William Slichenmyer.

    Schools of Public Health: Cancer Moonshot Undervalues Prevention

    Over 70 deans and directors of public health programs and institutes signed a letter March 21 asking the White House for to prioritize federal investments in public health and cancer prevention.

    The letter, addressed to Vice President Joe Biden, urges the administration to “pay careful attention to the balance between treatment and prevention-related investments.”

    In Brief
    • Dinah Singer and Warren Kibbe named acting NCI deputy directors

    • Peter Paul Yu named physician-in-chief at Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute

    • Greg Simon named executive director of national cancer moonshot initiative

    • Johns Hopkins launches Bloomberg-Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy
    • Hyundai Hope on Wheels announces $1 million in pediatric research grants

    • MD Anderson and TESARO form immuno-oncology collaboration

    Drugs and Targets
    • FDA publishes draft guidance on biosimilar product labeling

    • FDA approves Defitelio for veno-occlusive disease following transplantation

    • FDA grants Orphan Drug Designation to Iomab-B


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