Issue 38 - Oct 12, 2018
  • St. Jude and the World Health Organization collaborate in first-ever global alliance to boost cancer cure rates in children

    St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the World Health Organization have formed a collaboration, working with partners across the world, and aiming to cure at least 60 percent of children with cancer worldwide by 2030.

  • Conversation with The Cancer Letter

    St. Jude’s Downing: WHO effort can raise cure rates up to 60% for children with cancer

    The $15 million collaboration between St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the World Health Organization is the first step to improving access in low and middle-income countries to affordable treatments for six common types of childhood cancer, said James Downing, St. Jude president and CEO.

  • Conversation with The Cancer Letter

    WHO’s Ilbawi: St. Jude partnership can resolve inequality, capacity issues in childhood cancer

    How do you begin a quest to cure 60 percent of children with six common types of childhood cancer worldwide by 2030?

    You start by building the political will needed to secure government investment in health care, said André Ilbawi, a World Health Organization technical officer for cancer control in the Department for Management of Noncommunicable Diseases, Disability, Violence and Injury Prevention.

  • Letter to the Editor

    Ronald DePinho’s guest editorial in the Oct. 5, 2018, issue of The Cancer Letter congratulating Jim Allison for winning a share of the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology contained the following one sentence paragraph: “It was the first Nobel ever awarded for the treatment of cancer.”

  • In Brief

    • Cancer biologist Steven Artandi to lead Stanford Cancer Institute, replacing outgoing director Beverly Mitchell
    • Allan Tsung named surgical oncology division director at Ohio State
    • Marc Hurlbert named chief science officer at Melanoma Research Alliance
    • Katzenellenbogen named Chuck and Tina Pagano Scholar at IU
  • TCCL Logo

  • Trials & Tribulations

    Biomarker linked to increased survival rates among certain brain tumor patients

    Study shows DNA biomarker can be used to predict outcomes for high risk low grade gliomas

    Brain tumors can be tricky to treat because there is such a wide range of outcomes. Some patients succumb to the disease within months, others live years beyond their diagnosis.

  • Clinical Roundup

    • New ASTRO/ASCO/AUA guideline for early-stage prostate cancer supports use of shortened courses of radiation therapy
    • High-precision proton therapy more effective in some cancers when combined with thermal therapy
    • Cancer death disparities linked to poverty, lifestyle factors nationwide
    • Report: tobacco control must be highest priority in cancer control
  • Drugs & Targets

    • ODAC recommends approval of rituximab biosimilar
    • Myriad, Pfizer announce commercialization plan for talazoparib companion diagnostic
    • Foundation Medicine introduces liquid biopsy for solid tumors in patients with advanced cancer
    • Celyad announces agreement for Horizon Discovery’s shRNA platform to develop next- gen allogeneic CAR-T therapies
    • Novitas Solutions approves coverage of UPMC-developed test for diagnosis of thyroid nodules
  • NCI Trials

    NCI Trials for October

    The National Cancer Institute Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program approved the following clinical research studies last month.

Issue 37 - Oct 5, 2018
  • Guest Editorial

    When your harmonica player wins the Nobel Prize

    THE CHECKPOINTS were born in 2007 on an escalator in Chicago. Here’s the story…

    Back then, in an oncology era that we’ll fondly call “The Dark Ages,” no one, except a small gaggle of Don Quixotes, believed that the immune system could cure cancer. Immunotherapy stalwarts (like my friends and I) were such outcasts that our presentations at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting were scheduled for the last day of the conference (when just about everyone had already gone home) and assigned to a lecture hall that was too remote for anything but sensible shoes.

  • Guest Editorial

    Thank you, Jim Allison

    The year was 1998, location, Italian Alps. Jim and I were attending an intimate Pezcoller meeting organized by David Livingston. At that meeting, Jim presented something I had never seen in the entirety of my career—the eradication of cancer in mice following treatment with an antibody designed to inhibit a T cell checkpoint mechanism.

  • Craig Thompson resigns from two corporate boards as MSK crisis shifts to board roles

    Craig Thompson, president and CEO of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, resigned from two corporate boards of directors—the pharmaceutical company Merck & Co., and Charles River Laboratories International Inc., a company focused on early-stage drug development and manufacturing of novel compounds.

  • Conversation with The Cancer Letter

    Roy Jensen: “In general, I think cancer center directors still enjoy a certain amount of respect”

    As the new president of the Association of American Cancer Institutes, Roy Jensen will focus on public policy at the state and local level as his presidential priority.

  • An Appreciation

    Philip DiSaia, former head of Gynecologic Oncology Group, dies at 81

    The grandson of Italian immigrants, Philip John DiSaia was born on Aug. 14, 1937 in Providence, Rhode Island. He earned his Bachelor’s in Science at Brown University and his MD at Tufts University.

  • In Brief

    • Ruth O’Regan named chief scientific officer of Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium
    • Peter Wiklund named director of the Bladder Cancer Program at Mount Sinai
    • 2018 NIH Director’s awards for high-risk, high-reward research program announced
    • Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Leeds researchers win the 2018 European Health Award
    • Shirley Mertz elected chair and Christine Benjamin vice chair of Metastatic Breast Cancer Alliance
  • TCCL Logo

  • Trials & Tribulations

    How tumor-specific modulation frequencies were discovered

    In the spring of 2001, I visited a longtime friend and collaborator, Alexandre Barbault, to share with him my vision of using low levels radiofrequency electromagnetic fields for the treatment of cancer.

  • Clinical Roundup

    • Aspirin lowers risk of ovarian and hepatocellular cancer
    • Genentech’s Entrectinib showed durable response of more than two years NSCLC
  • Drugs & Targets

    • FDA releases draft guidance on master protocol studies
    • FDA approves Kyprolis with dexamethasone for relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma
    • FDA authorizes first next-gen sequencing-based test in patients with ALL, MM
    • FDA approves Libtayo as first and only treatment for advanced CSCC
Issue 36 - Sep 28, 2018
  • Oregon flirts with—and quickly abandons—plan to deny Medicaid payment for next-generation sequencing

    The Oregon Health Authority did a considerable amount of work to prepare a plan that would deny Medicaid coverage for next-generation sequencing tests in the state.

  • Conversation with The Cancer Letter

    UIC’s Stewart: Oregon draft guidance is “an assault on the treatment of underrepresented populations”

    The unwillingness to provide patients with targeted therapies based upon their genetic profile, I think, is unconscionable. The logic to me behind that is, “It’s okay to be elderly and sick, but it’s not okay to be poor and sick.” That’s how the draft guidance reads to me, because you won’t have access to state-of-the-art diagnostics.

  • Conversation with The Cancer Letter

    WVU’s Goldberg: Oregon draft guidance would widen disparities for low-income cancer patients

    My opinion is that patients should have equal access to technology that is becoming useful in improving outcomes, regardless of which insurer they are covered by. I can tell you that every week, we’re doing NGS tests on Medicaid patients in West Virginia as well as on patients with every other kind of insurance.

  • In Baselga’s wake: Debate focuses on COIs of academics on boards of for-profit firms

    As the fallout from the ethics scandal at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center continues, cancer center officials are investigating allegations contained in an anonymous letter from a group that identifies themselves as “Concerned Employees of MSKCC.”

  • In Brief

    • NIH receives $2B raise as House passes FY19 spending package
    • NIH memorial service for Alan Rabson scheduled for Oct. 30
    • Heidi Nelson named medical director of the American College of Surgeons Cancer Programs
    • American Cancer Society honors John Ruckdeschel with St. George Award
    • Carlos Arteaga awarded $600,000 to study breast cancer therapy resistance
    • ASCO recognizes Rep. Kevin Yoder with 2018 Congressional Leadership Award
    • NCCN moves global headquarters to Plymouth Meeting
    • Cuomo announces U.S.-Cuba venture to develop new cancer treatments
  • TCCL Logo

  • Conversation with The Cancer Letter

    Anne-Marie Langevin receives Harry Hynes Award

    Anne-Marie Langevin, of the South Texas Pediatric Minority/Underserved NCI Community Oncology Research Program site in San Antonio, won the 2018 Harry Hynes Award, which is given annually to the PI who reflects the outstanding contribution to clinical trials and community research.

  • Clinical Roundup

    • CT screening reduces lung cancer mortality, NELSON study finds
    • Imfinzi significantly improves OS in unresectable, stage III NSCLC
    • Tecentriq + chemo significantly improves OS as initial treatment for ES-SCLC
    • Atezolizumab + carboplatin & pemetrexed improves PFS in stage IV non-squamous NSCLC
    • Myriad’s Variant Reclassification Study published in JAMA
    • Alunbrig improves PFS by over 50% vs. crizotinib in first-line advanced ALK+ NSCLC
    • Cancer patients have lower risk of opioid-related death than general public
    • Breast cancer patients prefer knowing costs prior to starting treatment
    • CIMAvax-EGF well tolerated for NSCLC, initial findings show
  • Drugs & Targets

    • FDA approves Vizimpro for NSCLC indication
    • FDA approves Copiktra for CLL/SLL indications
    • FDA grants QIDP and Fast Track Designations to Cidara
    • Blincyto approved In Japan for relapsed or refractory B-cell ALL
    • European Commission approves Coherus’s Udenyca
  • NCI Trials

    NCI Trials for September

    The National Cancer Institute Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program approved the following clinical research studies last month.