Cancer News from Heartland CCOP Cancer Research St. Louis, MO
The Heartland Cancer Research NCORP
collaborative approach to patient care
and research aids in many significant
breakthroughs. Our newsstand section
offers the latest local and
FROM USA Today, December 13, 2016
In an emotional bill signing ceremony — likely the last one of this
presidency — Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act in a White House
auditorium. The signing brought full circle Obama's State of the Union
challenge to Congress to "surprise the cynics" by tackling some of the
biggest health priorities facing the country.
"We are bringing to reality the possibility of new breakthroughs to some of
the biggest health challenges of our time," Obama said.
"We're tackling cancer, brain disease, substance abuse disorders and more,
and none of this would have been possible without bipartisan cooperation
from both houses of Congress," he said, thanking a delegation from Capitol
Hill. The bill passed the House of Representatives 392 to 26 and the Senate
94 to 5.
The bill was a personal project for Biden. The section of the bill
allocating $1.8 billion in cancer research funding was named for his son,
Beau, whose death from brain cancer in 2015 inspired what the White House
called its "Cancer Moonshot."
"This bill will literally save lives," said a somber Biden. "Just its mere
signing, Mr. President, as you know better than I, gives millions of
In addition to the added funding, Biden said that the bill would
"fundamentally change the culture of our fight against cancer" by adding a
sense of urgency to the effort.
The bill also authorized seven years of funding for other health-related
initiatives: $1.5 billion for a brain research initiative, $1.4 billion for
precision medicine, and $1 billion for substance abuse treatment targeting
heroin and opioid addiction.
Obama was introduced by David Grubb, a former West Virginia state senator
who told first met the president in Charleston last year, telling him the
story of his daughter Jessie's battle with heroin addiction. She was in
recovery then, and Grubb was optimistic.
But Jessie died this March after being given painkillers following a
"When I first met them in Charleston, their story was unfortunately more
common than we would have liked," Obama said. "I think it reflects the power
of this issue and how deeply it affects every family in America."
"This is an epidemic that can touch anybody — blue collar, white collar,
college students, retirees, kids, moms, dads," Obama said.
"MOON SHOT" TO CURE CANCER MIGHT WORK
Street Journal, Febuary 17, 2016
Widespread praise for Vice President Joseph
Biden’s “Moon Shot to Cure Cancer“ is another positive development in a year
that could prove transformative for biomedical research – and the nation.
In December, biomedical research regained the broad, bipartisan
Congressional support it enjoyed 13 years ago when both parties celebrated a
five-year doubling of the annual budget of the National Institutes of Health
(NIH) – the world’s largest medical research funding agency.
The years before had been tough ones. NIH’s inflation-adjusted budget
declined by more than 20% between 2003 and 2014. NIH went from funding one
in three approved extramural grant applications to one in six, despite
extraordinary opportunities for discoveries unrealized, not to mention the
impact of fewer grants on new scientists’ careers and the sustainability of
research infrastructure overall. The U.S. reputation as world leader in
innovation suffered; China now leads in global life science patent
applications. Most importantly, untold lives are the worse for it.
The 114th Congress, which was elected in 2014, marked a turning point. It
gave NIH a 6.6% increase of $2 billion – significant growth for the first
time since 2003 – thanks to resurgent bipartisan support. Democratic and
Republican representatives endorsed boosting NIH’s budget by $2 billion, and
over 100 Republicans called for a $3 billion increase.
What made the difference was a bipartisan decision to raise the spending
caps; recognition of exceptional research opportunities close at hand;
passionate advocacy by patients and families, business leaders convinced of
research’s economic impact, and internationalists believing scientific
prowess enhances U.S. global leadership; and researchers who can translate
the value of science into lay terms.
Vice President Biden can be
described as an advocate, a father profoundly motivated by his oldest son’s
death from cancer. But drawing on over 40 years of experience in politics,
Mr. Biden is uniquely qualified to harness passion to pragmatism to achieve
I believe the applause for the moon shot is partly in appreciation for his
understanding that more resources for research – particularly sustainable
resources, which are essential – must go hand in hand with improved
collaboration. Such collaboration has the potential to achieve the best
possible return on investment. For example:
Anderson Cancer Center in Houston is constructing a facility designed
for collaborative investigation on pancreatic cancer, bringing basic
scientists, oncologists, surgeons, radiologists and pathologists under
one roof for integrated, multidisciplinary research and patient care.
A Seattle-based consortium brings together the cancer specialists of
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, Seattle Children’s, and the University of
Washington to accelerate cancer research, aligning over 400 research
faculty in basic, clinical and public health sciences.
Penn Medicine’s Abramson Cancer Center in Philadelphia is in talks with
research institutions in two other states to explore forging
partnerships that would remove bureaucratic silos in cancer research
that can impede discovery.
The launch of the moon shot – in conjunction with long-term, sustainable NIH
funding overall – would represent a potential game changer for cancer. They
also could open a historic new chapter in medicine and health.
Dr. Atul Grover
(@AtulGroverMD) is the chief public policy officer of the Association of
American Medical College
ECOG-ACRIN opens NCI-MATCH precision
medicine cancer trial
The largest, most scientifically rigorous precision medicine trial in
cancer to date is now open to cancer centers and community hospitals
Philadelphia, August 17, 2015 — The
National Cancer Institute-Molecular Analysis
(NCI-MATCH) phase II precision medicine trial, known to doctors as trial
EAY131, is open through the ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group.
Precision medicine refers to the tailoring of treatment based on the
characteristics of each individual. As the largest precision medicine trial
for cancer to date, NCI-MATCH seeks to determine whether matching certain
drugs or drug combinations to people whose tumors have specific gene
abnormalities will effectively treat their cancer, regardless of their
cancer type. Treatment for this trial focuses on molecular abnormalities of
patient tumors instead of the organ sites of the cancer.
NCI-MATCH (EAY131) will match patients with one of 22 treatments to test the
use of each specific drug or drug combination targeted to a particular gene
abnormality. It is open to medical facilities today with ten treatments, and
the additional 12 treatments will be added to the trial within the next
Patients can enroll in the trial on a rolling basis as hospitals and cancer
centers join and as the additional treatments become available. Contact the
NCI Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER for trial information.
The trial seeks to enroll for genetic testing about 3,000 adults 18 years of
age and older with any type of solid tumor or lymphoma (cancer in the cells
of the immune system) that has returned or gotten worse after standard
systemic therapy (oral or intravenous). Patients may also be eligible for
screening if they have a rare type of cancer for which there is no standard
treatment. All patients considering the trial will need to have a new biopsy
and their tumor cells will need to undergo genetic testing to see whether
they contain one of the gene mutations being studied.
Trial researchers expect that about one-third of the patients screened will
have one or more molecular abnormalities that match one of the 22 treatments
being studied. If so, they will be further evaluated to determine if they
are able to be treated as part of the trial.
There will be 35 patients enrolled for each drug/drug combination being
The trial’s design calls for at least 25 percent of the 1,000-patient
enrollment to be people with rare types of cancer. The inclusion of uncommon
types of cancer in NCI-MATCH offers patients an unusual opportunity to have
their disease assessed to see if it has the same genetic abnormalities found
in more common cancer types. It also offers researchers a unique opportunity
to study the effectiveness of new treatments on rare diseases.
As leader of the trial, ECOG-ACRIN is coordinating the genetic testing. It
also supports all trial sites with training, laboratory services, trial
assignments, biostatistical support, data management, auditing, quality
control, and public awareness.
The study was co-developed by the ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group and the
National Cancer Institute.
ECOG-ACRIN study chair Keith T. Flaherty, MD, a medical oncologist at
Massachusetts General Hospital and associate professor, Harvard Medical
School, both in Boston, is available for comment.
For more information, visit http://ecog-acrin.org/nci-match-eay131.
Study Shows Walking an Hour a Day Achieves Greatest Longevity Benefit
Article date: April 24, 2015
By Stacy Simon
Researchers from the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society,
and others have found that getting 3 to 5 times the amount of recommended
leisure-time physical activity results
in the greatest benefit in terms of a longer life. The study was published
online April 6, 2015 in JAMA
Internal Medicine. One way to achieve this benefit is by walking an
hour a day.
The US Department of Health and Human Services and the American Cancer
Society are among organizations that recommend adults get at least 150
minutes (2.5 hours) of moderate intensity or 75 minutes (1.25) hours of
vigorous intensity activity each week, preferably spread throughout the
week. Moderate-intensity activities are those at the level of a brisk walk.
Vigorous-intensity activities increase your heart rate and breathing, and
make you sweat.
For the current study, researchers looked at data from more than half a
million men and women participating in 6 studies, including the American
Cancer Society Cancer Prevention Study II. Participants reported the
time they spent on activities beyond their normal everyday tasks, including
walking, jogging, running, swimming, tennis, racquetball, bicycling,
aerobics, and dance.
The study found that most of the longer-life benefit possible is reached by
getting the minimum recommended amounts of physical activity. People who
achieved this level of activity lowered their risk of death by 31% compared
to those who got no leisure-time activity.
The study found even greater benefits were achieved by getting even more
leisure-time physical activity. People who got 3 to 5 times the recommended
amount lowered their risk of death by 39% compared to those getting no
After that, however, the additional longevity benefit leveled off. Those who
got even higher amounts of physical activity – as much as 10 times the
recommended minimum level – got about the same longevity benefit. Although
their risk of death did not decrease at this level, it didn’t increase,
either. The authors say these findings can reassure very active people that
high levels of exercise are safe.
Every little bit helps
There are many, many ways to get 3 to 5 times the recommended amount of
leisure-time physical activity. They include:
For people who are getting less than the recommended amount of activity,
adding even a little bit more helps. According to Alpa Patel, PhD, a
researcher for the study and also American Cancer Society Strategic
Director, Cancer Prevention Study 3, “The greatest benefit is going from
doing nothing to doing something, even if it’s less than the minimum
Citation: Leisure Time
Physical Activity and Mortality: A Detailed Pooled Analysis of the
Dose-Response Relationship. Published online April 6, 2015 in JAMA
Internal Medicine. First author Hannah Arem, MHS, PhD. National Cancer
Institute, Bethesda, Md.
Annual Report to the Nation: Cancer Death Rates Still Dropping
Article date: March 31, 2015
By Stacy Simon
The death rate from cancer in the United States is continuing the decline
that began in the early 1990s, according to the latest Annual
Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer. It shows the rate of
death from cancer in the United States is going down among both men and
women, for children,
and for the most common types of cancer, includinglung, colon, breast,
However, the report identified some cancer types with increasing incidence
or death rates among certain populations.
The American Cancer Society, the North American Association of Central
Cancer Registries, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the
National Cancer Institute work together to create the report, which has been
published each year since 1998. It provides an update of new cancer cases,
death rates, and trends in the United States.
The report was published early online Monday in Journal
of the National Cancer Institute.
Breast cancer subtypes
For the first time this year, the report uses national data to provide
statistics about the prevalence of 4 major subtypes of breast cancer. These
subtypes depend on whether the cancer cells contain certain
hormone receptors and whether they have too many copies of the HER2 gene.
Both these conditions can help breast cancer cells grow.
These subtypes are now being recorded by cancer registries across the
nation, giving researchers and medical experts a more detailed picture of
breast cancer rates and trends, and helping women better understand what
their breast cancer subtype may mean for their health.
The breast cancer subtypes respond differently to treatment and have
different survival rates. According to the report, some of the differences
in rates of breast cancer incidence and death across racial and ethnic
groups are related to differences in the incidence of different subtypes.
The authors also observed differences based on age, poverty level, and
Rates of the least aggressive breast cancer subtype were highest among white
women. Rates of this subtype decreased with increasing levels of poverty for
every racial and ethnic group. Black women had higher incidence rates of the
most aggressive subtype, known as triple-negative
breast cancer, than other racial and ethnic groups. Black women also had
the highest rates of late-stage disease. Both of these factors are
associated with lower survival and correspond with black women having the
highest rates of breast cancer deaths.
Cancer death rates continue to fall
For the most recent reporting period, the rates of lung cancer incidence and
death have decreased in both men and women, most likely due to public health
efforts to decrease
smoking rates. Colon cancer incidence and death rates among both men and
women, and prostate cancer incidence and death rates in men, continued to
“The drop in incidence in lung and colorectal cancers shows the lifesaving
impact of prevention,” said John R. Seffrin, Ph.D., American Cancer Society
Chief Executive Officer, in a statement. “But we have a long way to go, not
only in these two cancers but in the many other cancers where the trend has
not been so positive.”
Overall cancer incidence rates decreased by 0.5% per year from 2002 to 2011.
Among men, incidence rates decreased an average of 1.8% per year from 2007
to 2011; incidence rates were stable in women from 1998 to 2011. Among
children up to 19 years of age, incidence rates have increased by 0.8% per
year over the past decade, continuing a trend since 1992. The cause for the
increase remains uncertain.
Incidence and death rates increased for some cancer types
The authors pointed out some trends that call for further study.
Among the risk factors for some of these cancer types are excess weight and
lack of physical activity.
Citation: Annual Report
to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, 1975–2011, Featuring Incidence of
Breast Cancer Subtypes by Race/Ethnicity, Poverty, and State. Published
early online March 30, 2015 in Journal
of the National Cancer Institute. First author: Betsy A. Kohler, MPH,
CTR, North American Association of Central Cancer Registries, Springfield,
Quality Assurance at a Clinical Research
Site: A Practical Guide
Alan Lyss, MD, provides advice for
implementing a quality assurance program
at a clinical research site. Dr. Lyss
explains the importance of quality
assurance and provides practical tips
based on his experience as a
community-based clinical investigator.
He is an oncologist and
investigator at the Missouri Baptist
Cancer Center and member of the ASCO
Cancer Research Committee. Click
to locate this video and others on the