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The Cancer Letter Inc.
PO Box 9905
DC 20016
Tel: 202-362-1809
Fax: 202-379-1787
publication date: Apr 29, 2016
ISSUE 17 - April 29, 2016 PDF

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 


          Copyright (c) 2016 The Cancer Letter Inc.