20141107 - Nov 7, 2014
ISSUE 42 – NOV. 7, 2014PDF

UT System (Again) Directs DePinho to Cure MD Anderson Faculty Angst

Over the past two years, four separate surveys attempted to gauge the level of faculty morale and satisfaction at MD Anderson Cancer Center.

All produced similar results: faculty morale is low, and a large proportion of the faculty says the administration is tone-deaf to their needs. The executive leadership is seen as not appropriately responding to internal issues. 

The latest survey—conducted by the UT System and reported on Nov. 3—allows comparison with the earlier efforts.

The Survey Results

Greenberg: More Work Needs to be Done

After three very similar surveys yielded results that pointed to disaffection and disenfranchisement on the part of the faculty at MD Anderson, the UT System officials said they expect a “renewed, constructive and collaborative effort” to address the problems.

Funding Opportunity

NCI to Host SBIR Investor Forum

NCI is hosting a Small Business Innovation Research Investor Forum Nov. 13 at Agilent Technologies in Santa Clara, Calif., where 28 SBIR-funded companies will present cancer therapeutics, diagnostics, and devices.

photoIn Brief

  • David Nathan receives Lifetime Impact Award from Boston Children’s Hospital

  • Steven Finklestein appointed chief science officer of 21st Century Oncology

  • City of Hope awarded $8 million to launch stem cell therapy clinic

  • American Cancer Society honors researchers at Fox Chase and Temple University 

  • Cancer Innovation Coalition holds policy briefing on Capitol Hill

photoDrugs and Targets

  • Cyramza approved in metastatic stomach cancer

  • Velos and MD Anderson Cancer Center launch investigational drug computer data system

20141031 - Oct 31, 2014
ISSUE 41 – OCT. 31, 2014PDF

How Elite Institutions Were Affected By A Decade of Constricted Funding

The ten-year period of erosion that followed the doubling of the NIH budget has hit some research institutions harder than others.

NIH appropriations figures provide a glimpse of the state of science funding in the U.S., but they don’t shed light on how individual institutions and areas of research are affected.

To conduct an exploratory analysis of levels of funding at specific institutions, The Cancer Letter compiled NIH and NCI funding figures from 2003 to 2013 for eight freestanding cancer centers and nine other research institutions that include cancer centers. A focus on freestanding cancer centers provides a snapshot of funding at institutions engaged primarily in basic and clinical cancer research.

 The Impact of Triple Calamities: Flat Funding, the End of ARRA, and a Dramatic Loss of Purchasing Power

The Cancer Letter asked leaders of cancer centers, professional societies, and science advocacy organizations to comment on declining levels of NIH and NCI funding at freestanding cancer centers and selected academic institutions that include cancer centers.

Guest Editorial
The Academic Difference: George Weiner On How America’s Cancer Centers Are More Valuable Than Ever

“The nation’s academic cancer centers are a national resource that will increase in value as remarkable changes continue in biomedical research, cancer care, and health policy.”

Bennett, Federal Prosecutors Reach $475,000 Settlement

Charles Bennett, an oncologist and cancer researcher whose work focuses on adverse events caused by pharmaceutical products, settled a federal complaint brought by a whistleblower alleging irregularities in the management of R01 research grants administered by Northwestern University. 

Northwestern paid $2.93 million in 2013 to settle allegations of mismanaging five of Bennett’s R01 grants. 

Funding Opportunity
Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Launches Myeloid Program

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society launched a program to fund research projects focused on myeloid diseases, such as myelodysplastic syndromes and myeloproliferative neoplasms, both of which can progress to acute myeloid leukemia. 

photoIn Brief

  • City of Hope launches Hematologic Malignancies and Stem Cell Transplantation Institute

  • Lisa Richardson named director of CDC Division of Cancer Prevention and Control

  • Milan Mrksich named associate director for research technology and infrastructure at Lurie Cancer Center

  • Ronan Swords receives Pap Corps Endowed Professorship

  • Laura Brod named CEO of GeneSegues Therapeutics

  • Merck Serono names three grant winners

  • Martine Extermann receives top award from International Society of Geriatric Oncology

  • Aptose Biosciences Inc. joins Beat AML consortium

  • Meridian Health and Hackensack University Health Network to discuss merging health systems

  • Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health and Science University launches statewide program

  • American Society of Clinical Oncology endorses AUA/ASTRO Guideline

photoDrugs and Targets

  • FDA extends Lymphoseek label to include mapping in solid tumors

  • National Comprehensive Cancer Network approves VeriStrat predictive proteomics test

  • Myriad Genetics establishes European laboratory

  • Case Medical Center and Seidman Cancer Center select GenomOncology for workflow management

  • Qiagen and Astellas Pharma to collaborate on companion diagnostics

20141024 - Oct 24, 2014
ISSUE 40 – OCT. 24, 2014PDF



40 Years Later
Doctor and Patient Reflect on the Cure

On Oct. 21, 1974, John Cleland lay in a hospital bed at Indiana University Hospital.

At 23, he had just graduated from Purdue University and just married.

He was also three weeks into a fourth-line chemotherapy regimen for advanced metastatic testicular cancer. The disease had spread to his lungs.

Lawrence Einhorn, Cleland’s doctor, told him that this was the end of the road.

Conversation with The Cancer Letter
Einhorn: “I Still Harbor Hope For Similar Success Stories”

The Cancer Letter asked Lawrence Einhorn, distinguished professor of medicine and the Livestrong Foundation Professor of Oncology at the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center, to reflect on one of the most spectacular successes in the history of cancer research—his development of the curative regimen for testicular cancer.

Caris Life Sciences Lays Off Estimated 20 Percent of Staff

Caris Life Sciences Inc. last week reduced its workforce by 50 people—about 20 percent, sources said.

While a 50-person reduction in force is small by pharma industry standards, the development could be significant because Caris is a key player in the emerging market for molecular therapies.

HRSA: Discounts Owed on Some Orphan Drug Uses

The Health Resources and Services Administration last week warned pharmaceutical companies that they must continue to offer 340B Drug Pricing Program discounts on some uses of orphan drugs.

Cancer Support Community Reports on Patient Experiences

Cancer Support Community released the findings report from the first year-and-a-half of the Cancer Experience Registry.

Institute of Medicine Elects 80 New Members

The Institute of Medicine named 70 new members and 10 foreign associates during its 44th annual meeting.

New members are elected by current active members through a selective process that recognizes individuals who have made major contributions to the advancement of the medical sciences, health care, and public health.

photoIn Brief

  • Benjamin Neel named director of NYU Cancer Center

  • Brad Pollock named chair of public health department at UC Davis

  • Richard Zellars named chair of radiation oncology at IU School of Medicine

  • David Mauro named chief medical officer and VP of Advaxis Inc.

  • James Tulsky receives award from American Cancer Society

  • Mary Kozik named senior director of development at Winship Cancer Institute

  • Northwestern Mutual and Alex’s Lemonade Stand fund eight young investigators

  • Association of Community Cancer Centers receives gift from Bristol-Myers Squibb

  • Stand Up To Cancer epigenetics dream team receives $7.5 million from Van Andel Research Institute

photoDrugs and Targets

  • EU approves Imbruvica in MCL, CLL

  • CMS publishes two draft coverage determinations for molecular prostate cancer tests

  • Priority Health to cover FoundationOne genomic profiles

  • Celgene and Sutro Biopharma to collaborate on antibody-drug conjugates