20150814 - Aug 14, 2015
SPECIAL REPORT – AUG. 14, 2015 

 

MD Anderson Moves from Top-Down Structure

to “Shared Governance” with Faculty Senate

 

MD Anderson Cancer Center was instructed to institute a “shared governance” structure, disbanding its powerful Executive Committee effective Sept. 1.

After years of turmoil and plunging morale, the UT System has instructed the Houston-based cancer center to form a Shared Governance Committee, which would incorporate input from the faculty. The move appears to change the institution’s structure from a strong top-down flow of authority to an unusually democratic system.

The new governance committee will serve as the top advisory body to the institution’s president, Ronald DePinho, and will include all division heads; the chair, chair-elect, and immediate past chair of the Faculty Senate; and senior executives.

The decision was announced Aug. 14, in a faculty-wide email from DePinho and Gary Whitman, chair of the Faculty Senate.

20150807 - Aug 7, 2015
ISSUE 31 – AUG. 7, 2015PDF

Conversation with The Cancer Letter

AstraZeneca Exec Discusses Iressa’s Future in the U.S.

 

After a decade of near-absence from the U.S. market, the AstraZeneca drug Iressa (gefitinib) is back.

The drug, which stayed on the market between 2003 and 2005, when it was pulled because clinical trials in a general population of patients failed to demonstrate a survival advantage, has returned. Now it is accompanied by a diagnostic tests that selects patients.

The Cancer Letter asked Andrew Coop, vice president of US medical affairs in oncology at AstraZeneca, to discuss the company’s plans for the future of Iressa in the US, and lessons that have been learned.

 

Report: Part D Drug Prices “Needlessly High”

Medicare’s Part D program paid significantly higher prices for drugs than either Medicaid or the Veterans Health Administration, a study by Carleton University and Public Citizen found.

Prices paid by Medicare Part D were also above those in 30 other countries.

The price is caused by congressional restrictions on the federal government’s ability to negotiate with the pharmaceutical industry, the study said.

Obituary

Carolyn Kaelin, 54, Dana-Farber Surgical Oncologist and Researcher

Carolyn Mary Kaelin, a surgical oncologist in the Women’s Cancers Program at Dana-Farber and director of the Breast Clinic at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, died July 28, surrounded by loved ones. Kaelin was 54.

FDA News

In Brief

  • Lehigh Valley Health Network joins MSK Cancer Alliance

  • Siteman Cancer Center receives “exceptional” rating from NCI
  • John Cunningham named chairman of pediatrics department at the University of Chicago

  • Jinhgui Zhang named first chair of Department of Computational Biology at St. Jude
  • Stephen Lessnick named director of childhood cancer center at Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital

  • GI Chair Lopa Mishra to leave MD Anderson Cancer Center

  • Leukemia & Lymphoma Society receives donation from Bristol Myers Squibb

  • Commission on Cancer names Outstanding Achievement Award winners

  • California Dept. of Public Health launches big data collaboration with St. Joseph’s Health

  • Pan-Mass Challenge raises $33.5 million over weekend bike ride for Dana-Farber

 Drugs and Targets

  • Health Canada approves Imbruvica in MCL

  • EMA grants orphan designation to synthetic hypericin
  • AstraZeneca and Heptares Therapeutics enter licensing agreement

  • Mirati Therapeutics and MedImmune launch clinical trial collaboration
 

The Cancer Letter will be taking a short publication break, and will return Friday, Sept. 4.

20150730 - Jul 30, 2015
ISSUE 30 – JULY 31, 2015PDF

Pharma Industry Critics

Seek Grassroots Support

 

Many people are studying the rising prices of cancer drugs. A growing group of oncologists want to do something different: they want to give them a downward push.

Last week, a group of 118 oncologists signed an editorial published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings in which they laid out seven specific actions that they argue would moderate drug prices.

 

Conversation with The Cancer Letter

The War on Cancer (Drug Prices): Political Education of Hagop Kantarjian

Here is what Hagop Kantarjian has learned over the past two years of his campaign to lower the prices of cancer drugs:

People would rather avoid disputing you head-on.

Instead, they seek to draw you into a process. And as this process drags on, things remain as they are.

Kantarjian, chair of the Department of Leukemia at MD Anderson Cancer Center, is too savvy and too impatient to get sucked into chasing elusive solutions.

Baylor Earns Comprehensive Designation;

Tisch Institute Becomes NCI Cancer Center

The Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center at Baylor College of Medicine and the Tisch Cancer Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai received NCI designations this week.

The Duncan Cancer Center—which was named an NCI-designated cancer center in 2007—was awarded the Comprehensive Cancer Center designation, which includes a $14.56 million, five-year grant. 

Guest Editorial

Kids v Cancer: Laws Need to Catch up to the Science

By Nancy Goodman

Kids with cancer are the last, not the first, to get on trials of promising new drugs. And, when drug companies abandon their unapproved cancer drugs, as they do 95 percent of the time for all sorts of reasons, the chance to study those drugs for kids with cancer goes away forever.

Drugs and Targets

Lenvima Receives FDA Breakthrough Designation

In Brief

  • Thomas Lynch Jr. to step down as director of Yale Cancer Center

  • Peter Schulam to serve as interim center director
  • Karen Reckamp named medical director for clinical research at City of Hope

  • Timothy Lash named leader of cancer prevention program at Winship Institute
  • Ontario Institute for Cancer Research and Centre for Drug Research and Development announces call for pre-proposals for early-stage research