Issue 31 - Aug 5, 2016
  • MD Anderson (Again) On Top
    of U.S. News and World Report Ranking

    The U.S. News & World Report rankings of the best cancer hospitals for 2016 brought no great surprises. The top four remained unchanged from last year:

    1) MD Anderson Cancer Center

    2) Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

    3) Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.

    4) Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center

    There was a change in the No. 5 slot: UCLA Medical Center. Last year, the Seattle Cancer Alliance and University of Washington Medical Center held that position. MD Anderson placed first nine times in the past 10 years.

  • News Analysis

    The Quantified Impact of Reputation On the U.S. News Best Hospital List

    League tables like those published by U.S. News and World Report should probably be taken with a pinch of salt in any case, but it is the self-marketing of these tables that is just a bit problematic.

    USNWR underlines that “rankings were developed…to help consumers determine which hospitals provide the best care…” and are based on “hard data.” That may be a stretch.

  • An Appreciation

    Gregory Curt, Clinician and Drug Developer, Dies at 64

    Greg Curt died last Sunday. For us in oncology, this one was especially personal. He was a wonderful, generous young man. Greg was a beloved friend and colleague. He was an accomplished cancer researcher and leader in oncology who died of the disease we treat.

    The standard obituary reads that he was born in 1952 in Fall River, Mass. He graduated from Providence College and the University of Rochester School of Medicine. He did residency at New England Deaconess Hospital and a fellowship in medical oncology at the NCI.

  • Nature Editorial Urges Congress To Pass RACE for Children Act

  • In Brief

    • UT Southwestern receives $11 million SPORE grant for kidney cancer program
    • Dana-Farber to get over $100 million for PD-L1 royalty interests
    • University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute gets NCI preclinical research contract
    • Pierre Massion to direct Vanderbilt-Ingram’s early detection initiative
    • Christopher Manley and Kristen Scully Manley join Fox Chase
    • Natascia Marino named Breast Cancer Research Foundation Investigator at Indiana University
    • Vanderbilt-Ingram receives $3 million grant from Kleberg Foundation
    • Community Oncology Alliance launches Advanced Practice Provider Network
  • Drugs and Targets

    • FDA grants Breakthrough Designation to LEE011 in metastatic breast cancer
    • FDA and CMS to undergo parallel review of FoundationOne genomic assay
    • Advanced Accelerator Applications and NCI form clinical trial agreement
    • Cellectar Biosciences Inc. receives second-phase of NCI SBIR award

    The Cancer Letter will return Sept. 2, after a short publication break

Special Report - Aug 1, 2016
  • MD Anderson (Again) On Top
    of U.S. News and World Report Ranking

    The U.S. News & World Report rankings of the best cancer hospitals for 2016 brought no great surprises. The top four cancer centers did not change from last year:

    1) MD Anderson Cancer Center,

    2) Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center,

    3) Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. and

    4) Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center.

    There was a change in this year’s No. 5 slot: UCLA Medical Center. Last year, it was the Seattle Cancer Alliance and University of Washington Medical Center

    Though the system used by U.S. News isn’t regarded as scientific, directors of cancer centers and folks in marketing pay close attention to even the smallest of changes in the standing of their institutions.

Issue 30 - Jul 29, 2016
  • Foundation Medicine Contributes 18,000 Cases to NCI’s Genomic Data Commons

    When the Genomic Data Commons opened June 6, the $20 million portal that consolidates NCI’s datasets contained genomic information from 14,500 patients.

    Before the end of the month, that number jumped to 32,500, as a result of a contribution from Foundation Medicine Inc., a molecular information company founded in 2011.

    The GDC was announced in June by Vice President Joe Biden as part of the National Cancer Moonshot Initiative.

    “We’re adding 18,000 cases from Foundation,” said Louis Staudt, director of the NCI Center for Cancer Genomics. “Many important cancer genes, up to 287, have been sequenced by Foundation in these cases. We applaud their public spirit, and we are really glad that they anted up.”

  • Conversation with The Cancer Letter

    Pellini: Data Sharing Central to Mission At Foundation Medicine

    Making data broadly available to clinicians and researchers has always been a part of the mission for Foundation Medicine Inc., said Michael Pellini, the company’s CEO.

    “We are proud to say the data that we contributed represents an important part of the GDC in terms of its sheer size,” said Pellini, discussing FMI’s decision to contribute 18,000 de-identified patient cases to NCI’s Genomic Data Commons.

  • Conversation with The Cancer Letter

    Staudt: Foundation Medicine’s “Philanthropy of Data” More Than Doubles GDC Portfolio

    Foundation Medicine approached NCI with the idea to make their data useful in the public domain.

    “They had heard through a variety of mechanisms that we were doing the Genomic Data Commons, and they thought this was a good possible fit,” said Louis Staudt, director of the NCI Center for Cancer Genomics. “In the end, it did turn out to be good for both of us.”

    Foundation donated the data from 18,000 de-identified cases, more than doubling the GDC’s total, up to 32,500.

  • Funding Opportunity

    Shire, ACMG Foundation Offering Fellowships in Medical Genetics

    Applications are being accepted for the ACMG Foundation/Shire Laboratory Geneticist Fellowship Awards and Clinical Genetics Residency Program. The program will facilitate 10 one-to-two-year training awards for medical geneticists over the next three years, after a $1.65 million commitment from Shire.

    Applications are available online and will be due in early September for residency programs accredited by the American Board of Medical Genetics and Genomics, beginning in July 2017.

  • Drugs and Targets

    • CHMP issues positive opinion for Onivyde 
    • EMA grants PRIME designation to DNX-2401
    • Mylan and Biocon submit marketing application to EMA for biosimilar Pegfilgrastim