Cancer Centers in the News

The following links highlight some of the most up-to-date news from the 27 NCCN Member Institutions. The media coverage below includes major national news outlets, industry magazines, medical journals, and press releases.

The news is listed in reverse chronological order for ease of use.

09/27/2017
Study Finds “Standard Care” Treatments in Breast Cancer Clinical Trials Not Always Standard

As reported in JNCCN, a recent study by researchers at The University of Sydney found that 29% of breast cancer clinical trials lack control arms consistent with the standard of care.

[FORT WASHINGTON, PA — September 27, 2017] Historically, randomized controlled trials have served as the state-of-the-art method for determining the efficacy and safety of new, innovative treatment regimens for patients with cancer and other diseases. It is imperative that such trials are carefully designed to ensure that they are scientifically and ethically sound and that experimental regimen is, indeed, superior or comparative to the current standard of care. Now, however, researchers from The University of Sydney, led by Rachel F. Dear, MBBS, PhD, found that 29% of breast cancer clinical trials reviewed failed to establish a control arm meeting the current standard of care.

Dr. Dear and colleagues published their findings in the September 2017 issue of JNCCN – Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.

Rachel F. Dear, MBBS, PhD, The University of Sydney

“Inconsistency of choice of control arm undermines the quality of evidence generated by clinical trials, which in turn impacts systemic reviews, the development of clinical practice guidelines, planning of future trials, and, ultimately, patient care and outcomes,” said Dr. Dear.

The Declaration of Helsinki, which is a set of ethical rules regarding human experimentation such as clinical trials, states that the “benefits, risks, burdens, and effectiveness of a new method should be tested against those of the best current prophylactic, diagnostic, and therapeutic methods.” Therefore, modern clinical trial design should include control arms representing the most current, evidence-based treatment standards at the time of implementation.

To investigate the frequency of inappropriate comparators, the researchers analyzed phase III randomized controlled clinical trials in breast cancer—the most frequently studied cancer type worldwide. Taking studies from 2004 – 2014 comparing drug treatments to “standard of care,” the team compared the control arm drugs and dosing to the concurrent recommendations within the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®) for U.S. studies, and the German Gynecological Group (AGO) for European studies.

There were more than 229,000 patients enrolled in 210 trials analyzed. Sixty of the trials failed to provide control group treatment in line with the concurrent standard of care.  Among trials recruiting in the United States, the control arm was not considered standard in (11/83; 13%)—a much lower proportion than the overall cohort (60/210; 29%). In contrast, a higher proportion of trials that recruited exclusively outside of the United States were not consistent with the NCCN Guidelines (49/127; 39%).

“An inappropriate comparator, such as a drug or dose that is less effective than the standard of care, may result in a new treatment appearing more effective than it really is. Another type of inappropriate comparator may be a treatment that may not be inferior but is not provided or accepted as the standard of care, which will result in outcomes that are difficult to interpret and implement in the context of multiple standards across multiple trials,” said Dr. Dear.

In a multivariable model, it was less likely for the control arm to be consistent in trials that began in 2012–2014; involved women with early-stage breast cancer; or involved four or more countries of recruitment, or if the trial was not recruiting in the United States. Randomized breast cancer trials that included ER-positive disease were more likely to use control arms consistent with the NCCN Guidelines®.

To ensure that clinical trials achieve the ultimate goal of obtaining the best information to guide patient management, further investigation must be done as to the process of determining the optimal standard of care for clinical trial control groups, the researchers note.

“We were somewhat surprised to find little guidance available internationally to help trial investigators decide what care is appropriate to give women who are randomized to the comparison or “standard care” arm of clinical trials. Better guidance needs to be available to investigators to ensure provision of the best current care to patients in control groups of clinical trials,” Dr. Dear said.

"This study highlights the complexity when defining ‘standard care’ for the control arm of phase III clinical trials,” said Meena Moran, MD, Director of the Yale Radiation Breast Program at Yale Cancer Center/Smilow Cancer Hospital. “Other factors that need to be considered include how new fluxes of information make capturing standard of care in real time difficult, and controversies surrounding trials conducted outside of the United States. Nevertheless, this body of work provides a great starting point for identifying any deviations from ‘standard care’ in clinical trials that with further investigation, may prove to be clinically relevant or detrimental for patients.”

Complimentary access to the study, “‘Standard Care’ in Cancer Clinical Trials: An Analysis of Care Provided to Women in the Control Arms of Breast Cancer Clinical Trials,” is available until November 20, 2017 on JNCCN.org.  

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About JNCCN—Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network
More than 24,000 oncologists and other cancer care professionals across the United States read JNCCN—Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. This peer-reviewed, indexed medical journal provides the latest information about best clinical practices, health services research, and translational medicine. JNCCN features updates on the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®), review articles elaborating on guidelines recommendations, health services research, and case reports highlighting molecular insights in patient care. JNCCN is published by Harborside Press. Visit JNCCN.org. To inquire if you are eligible for a FREE subscription to JNCCN, visit http://www.nccn.org/jnccn/subscribe.asp

About the National Comprehensive Cancer Network
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®), a not-for-profit alliance of leading cancer centers devoted to patient care, research, and education, is dedicated to improving the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of cancer care so that patients can live better lives. Through the leadership and expertise of clinical professionals at NCCN Member Institutions, NCCN develops resources that present valuable information to the numerous stakeholders in the health care delivery system. As the arbiter of high-quality cancer care, NCCN promotes the importance of continuous quality improvement and recognizes the significance of creating clinical practice guidelines appropriate for use by patients, clinicians, and other health care decision-makers.

 

The NCCN Member Institutions are: Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center, Omaha, NE; Case Comprehensive Cancer Center/University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center and Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute, Cleveland, OH; City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center, Los Angeles, CA; Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center | Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Boston, MA; Duke Cancer Institute, Durham, NC; Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA; Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT; Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center/Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Seattle, WA; The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, MD; Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, Chicago, IL; Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, Phoenix/Scottsdale, AZ, Jacksonville, FL, and Rochester, MN; Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY; Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL; The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute, Columbus, OH; Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY; Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO; St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital/The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN; Stanford Cancer Institute, Stanford, CA; University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center, Birmingham, AL; UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center, La Jolla, CA; UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, San Francisco, CA; University of Colorado Cancer Center, Aurora, CO; University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, Ann Arbor, MI; The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX; University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center, Madison, WI; Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Nashville, TN; and Yale Cancer Center/Smilow Cancer Hospital, New Haven, CT.

Clinicians, visit NCCN.org. Patients and caregivers, visit NCCN.org/patients. Media, visit NCCN.org/news.

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09/07/2017
NCCN Announces First Patient Dosed in NCCN-Peregrine Pharmaceuticals Collaborative Study of Bavituximab

An NCCN ORP-funded study, examining effectiveness of bavituximab combination in patients with newly diagnosed glioblastomas, enrolled its first patient at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Massachusetts.

[FORT WASHINGTON, PA — September 7, 2017] Glioblastoma is the most common malignant primary brain tumor and is a uniformly fatal disease with five-year survival rates less than four percent despite aggressive treatment with surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.1 Consequently, new therapies for this patient population are desperately needed.

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) today announced the dosing of the first patient in its Oncology Research Program (ORP)-funded study to investigate the effectiveness of bavituximab with radiation and temozolomide in patients with newly diagnosed glioblastomas.

The study, initiated by Elizabeth Gerstner, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, is one of three studies funded through a collaboration between NCCN ORP and Peregrine Pharmaceuticals—this patient marks the first enrollment into an NCCN ORP-funded investigator-initiated bavituximab trial.

“NCCN ORP congratulates Dr. Gerstner and Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center | Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center for initiation of this study, as well as the other investigators who will soon embark on their research of bavituximab in patients with cancer,” said Susan Most, MBA, RN, Director, Clinical Operations, NCCN ORP. “The fact that Peregrine Pharmaceuticals has entrusted the NCCN ORP with these investigator-initiated studies is an honor, and we are happy that patients at our esteemed institutions will have access to this novel immunotherapy.”

The following researchers received funding through a grant from Peregrine Pharmaceuticals:

  • Elizabeth Gerstner, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, “Phase II Clinical Trial of Bavituximab with Radiation and Temozolomide for Patients with Newly Diagnosed Glioblastoma”
  • Jessica Frakes, MD, Moffitt Cancer Center, “A Phase I Trial of Sorafenib and Bavituximab Plus Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) for First Line Treatment of Unresectable Hepatocellular Carcinoma”
  • Ranee Mehra, MD, The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, “Phase II Study of Pembrolizumab and Bavituximab for Progressive Recurrent/Metastatic Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck”

Drs. Frakes and Mehra will begin enrolling patients in the coming months.

“We are hopeful that results from this trial, as well as from the two additional studies at NCCN Member Institutions, will continue to support our belief that bavituximab works to create a more immune active tumor microenvironment in which other therapies are able to have a greater anti-tumor effect,” said Joseph Shan, MPH, Vice President, Clinical and Regulatory Affairs of Peregrine. “We look forward to following this important study at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, as well as the planned trials at the Moffitt Cancer Center and The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins.”

Bavituximab is an investigational immune-modulatory monoclonal antibody that targets phosphatidylserine (PS), a phospholipid that inhibits the ability of immune cells to recognize and fight tumors.  Bavituximab is believed to reverse PS-mediated immunosuppression by blocking the engagement of PS with its receptors, as well as by sending an alternate immune activating signal.2 According to Peregrine, PS-targeting antibodies have been shown to shift the functions of immune cells in tumors, resulting in multiple signs of immune activation and anti-tumor immune responses. This mechanism may play an important role in allowing other cancer therapies to more effectively attack tumors by reversing the immunosuppression that limits the impact of those treatments.

Importantly, bavituximab has also demonstrated a favorable safety and tolerability profile across several clinical trials conducted to date, which may offer the compound a key advantage as the evolving cancer treatment landscape continues to shift to a combination therapy approach. 

The awardees responded to a Request for Proposals issued by ORP to the NCCN Member Institutions and their affiliate hospitals. Submissions were peer reviewed by the NCCN Bavituximab Scientific Review Committee. The funded concepts were selected based on several criteria, including scientific merit, existing data, and the types of studies necessary to further evaluate the efficacy of bavituximab.

NCCN ORP draws on the expertise of investigators from NCCN Member Institutions and their affiliated hospitals to facilitate all phases of clinical research. The research is made possible by collaborations with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in order to advance therapeutic options for patients with cancer.

For more information about NCCN ORP, visit NCCN.org/ORP.

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About the National Comprehensive Cancer Network
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®), a not-for-profit alliance of 27 leading cancer centers devoted to patient care, research, and education, is dedicated to improving the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of cancer care so that patients can live better lives. Through the leadership and expertise of clinical professionals at NCCN Member Institutions, NCCN develops resources that present valuable information to the numerous stakeholders in the health care delivery system. As the arbiter of high-quality cancer care, NCCN promotes the importance of continuous quality improvement and recognizes the significance of creating clinical practice guidelines appropriate for use by patients, clinicians, and other health care decision-makers.

The NCCN Member Institutions are: Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center, Omaha, NE; Case Comprehensive Cancer Center/University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center and Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute, Cleveland, OH; City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center, Los Angeles, CA; Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center | Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Boston, MA; Duke Cancer Institute, Durham, NC; Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA; Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT; Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center/Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Seattle, WA; The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, MD; Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, Chicago, IL; Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, Phoenix/Scottsdale, AZ, Jacksonville, FL, and Rochester, MN; Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY; Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL; The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute, Columbus, OH; Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY; Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO; St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital/The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN; Stanford Cancer Institute, Stanford, CA; University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center, Birmingham, AL; UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center, La Jolla, CA; UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, San Francisco, CA; University of Colorado Cancer Center, Aurora, CO; University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, Ann Arbor, MI; The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX; University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center, Madison, WI; Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Nashville, TN; and Yale Cancer Center/Smilow Cancer Hospital, New Haven, CT.

Clinicians, visit NCCN.org. Patients and caregivers, visit NCCN.org/patients. Media, visit NCCN.org/news.

 

 

1CBTRUS (2008) Statistical report: primary brain tumors in the United States, 2000-2004. Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States.

2Yin Y, Huang X, Lynn KD, Thorpe PE. Phosphatidylserine-targeting antibody induces M1 macrophage polarization and promotes myeloid-derived suppressor cell differentiation. Cancer immunology research 2013 Oct; 1(4): 256-268.

 

 

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08/18/2017
Link between Air Pollution and Cancer Risk (Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center/Seattle Cancer Care Alliance)
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08/18/2017
GIST Tumors Linked To NF1 Mutations, Genetic Testing Needed (UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center)
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08/17/2017
Lab Tests Show Molecule Appears to Spur Cell Death in Tumors, Inflammation (Duke Cancer Institute)
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08/17/2017
Cancer is Way More Likely to Kill You if You Rely on “Natural” Therapies (Popular Science)
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08/16/2017
Cell Cycle-Blocking Drugs Can Shrink Tumors by Enlisting Immune System in Attack on Cancer, Study Finds (Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center | Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center)
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08/16/2017
Scientists Develop Blood Test That Spots Tumor-Derived DNA in People With Early-Stage Cancers (The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins)
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08/15/2017
Birth Defects, Cancer Linked (Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine)
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08/11/2017
Ohio State Cancer Researchers Validate a Clinical Test for Fusion Genes (The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Center and Solove Research Institute)
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08/11/2017
New NCCN Patient Resources for Rectal Cancer Now Available

Together with the NCCN Guidelines for Patients®: Colon Cancer, these free resources aid in decision-making for patients with colon and rectal cancers.

 

[FORT WASHINGTON, PA — August 11, 2017] It is estimated that more than 39,900 new cases of Rectal Cancer and more than 95,000 new cases of Colon Cancer will be diagnosed this year in the United States. In fact, Colorectal Cancer—Colon and Rectal Cancers together—is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in both men and women.1 While Colon and Rectal Cancers share like disease symptoms and characteristics, it is imperative that patients with Rectal Cancer have access to treatment information tailored specifically to their diagnosis.

To empower patients with Rectal Cancer to make informed choices about their cancer care, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®), through funding from NCCN Foundation®, have published the new NCCN Guidelines for Patients® and NCCN Quick Guide™ sheet for Rectal Cancer. These resources, as well as the NCCN patient resources for Colon Cancer published earlier this year, arm patients with the same evidence-based treatment information that their doctors use to aid in the shared-decision-making process with their care teams.

To ensure the resources get into patients’ hands, Fight Colorectal Cancer has sponsored both the NCCN Guidelines for Patients®: Colon and Rectal and directs patients to them through their medically-reviewed patient education materials on their website, such as Your Guide in the Fight and other blogs and web pages.

“NCCN Foundation is incredibly grateful to Fight Colorectal Cancer for their generous support of both the NCCN Guidelines for Patients for Colon and Rectal Cancers,” said Marcie R. Reeder, MPH, Executive Director, NCCN Foundation. “With more than 100,000 new cases of Colorectal Cancer diagnosed in the United States each year, we are pleased to now be able to empower the total patient population with the most up-to-date clinical options available to them at every stage of their cancer journey.”

NCCN Guidelines for Patients are easy-to-understand adaptations based on the same clinical practice guidelines used by health care professionals around the world to determine the best way to treat a person with cancer. Each resource features unbiased expert guidance from the nation’s leading cancer centers designed to help people living with cancer understand and discuss their treatment options with their providers.

"We are proud to support the evidence-based NCCN Guidelines for Patients for both Colon and Rectal cancers this year,” said Anjee Davis, President of Fight Colorectal Cancer. “We see these tools as invaluable resources to patients. The publications give our community the latest information on the standards of care in a patient-friendly way while providing the most updated information on clinical practice guidelines for health care providers."

“It is so important for patients and their families to have access to reliable, up-to-date and understandable information about their cancer to assist in composing questions and making decisions about their care when seeking guidance from their clinicians. The NCCN Guidelines for Patients and NCCN Quick Guide™ sheet for Rectal Cancer are such tools that we hope will be invaluable to those with rectal cancer and their friends and family as they manage the complexities of this disease,” said Al B. Benson, III, MD, Associate Director for Cooperative Groups, Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, and Chair of the NCCN Guidelines Panels for Colon, Rectal, and Anal Cancers. “Patient advocacy groups are important partners for both patients and clinicians and we are so grateful that Fight Colorectal Cancer has partnered with us at NCCN to create this new information and decision tool for patients everywhere.”

NCCN Guidelines for Patients and NCCN Quick Guide™ sheets—one-page summaries of key points in the patient guidelines—are written in plain language and include patient-friendly tools, such as questions to ask your doctor, a glossary of terms, and medical illustrations of anatomy, tests, and treatment. NCCN Guidelines for Patients and NCCN Quick Guide™ sheets DO NOT replace the expertise and clinical judgment of the clinician.

NCCN currently offers patient education materials for the following: Brain, Breast, Colon, Distress, Esophageal, Kidney, Non-Small Cell Lung, Ovarian, Pancreatic, Prostate, Rectal, Stomach, and Thyroid Cancers; Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia; Adolescents and Young Adults with Cancer; Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia; Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia; Hodgkin Lymphoma; Lung Cancer Screening; Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma; Melanoma, Multiple Myeloma; Myelodysplastic Syndromes; Nausea and Vomiting; Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphomas; Soft Tissue Sarcoma; and Waldenström’s Macroglobulinemia.

The NCCN Guidelines for Patients and NCCN Quick Guide™ sheet for Rectal Cancer are available to download free of charge from NCCN.org/patients and the NCCN Patient Guides for Cancer mobile app.

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About NCCN Foundation®
NCCN Foundation® was founded by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) to empower people with cancer and advance oncology innovation. NCCN Foundation supports people with cancer and their caregivers at every step of their treatment journey by delivering unbiased expert guidance from the world’s leading cancer experts through the library of NCCN Guidelines for Patients® and other patient education resources. NCCN Foundation is also committed to advancing cancer treatment by funding the nation’s promising young investigators at the forefront of cancer research, initiating momentum in their careers and furthering the betterment of patients through their groundbreaking innovations. For more information about NCCN Foundation, visit NCCNFoundation.org.

About Fight Colorectal Cancer

Fight CRC is a national nonprofit advocacy organization fighting for a cure. It was founded in 2005 by Nancy Roach, a patient advocate who witnessed the need for colorectal cancer advocacy after her mother-in-law’s diagnosis. The organization plays an important role in rallying colorectal cancer advocates to action. Fight CRC is known for activism and patient empowerment throughout patient, academic, political, scientific, medical and nonprofit communities. With a mission focused on advocacy, research, patient education and awareness, the organization serves advocates in every state of the U.S. and many others around the world. Fight CRC is a 4-star charity by Charity Navigator and 93 cents of every dollar donated goes directly to colorectal cancer programs. To learn more, visit FightCRC.org.

About the National Comprehensive Cancer Network
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®), a not-for-profit alliance of 27 leading cancer centers devoted to patient care, research, and education, is dedicated to improving the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of cancer care so that patients can live better lives. Through the leadership and expertise of clinical professionals at NCCN Member Institutions, NCCN develops resources that present valuable information to the numerous stakeholders in the health care delivery system. As the arbiter of high-quality cancer care, NCCN promotes the importance of continuous quality improvement and recognizes the significance of creating clinical practice guidelines appropriate for use by patients, clinicians, and other health care decision-makers.

The NCCN Member Institutions are: Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center, Omaha, NE; Case Comprehensive Cancer Center/University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center and Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute, Cleveland, OH; City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center, Los Angeles, CA; Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center | Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Boston, MA; Duke Cancer Institute, Durham, NC; Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA; Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT; Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center/Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Seattle, WA; The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, MD; Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, Chicago, IL; Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, Phoenix/Scottsdale, AZ, Jacksonville, FL, and Rochester, MN; Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY; Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL; The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute, Columbus, OH; Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY; Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO; St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital/The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN; Stanford Cancer Institute, Stanford, CA; University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center, Birmingham, AL; UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center, La Jolla, CA; UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, San Francisco, CA; University of Colorado Cancer Center, Aurora, CO; University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, Ann Arbor, MI; The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX; University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center, Madison, WI; Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Nashville, TN; and Yale Cancer Center/Smilow Cancer Hospital, New Haven, CT.

Clinicians, visit NCCN.org. Patients and caregivers, visit NCCN.org/patients. Media, visit NCCN.org/news.


1"Cancer Facts & Figures 2017." American Cancer Society, n.d. Web. 27 July 2017.

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08/10/2017
Checkpoint Inhibitors Fire Up Different Types of T Cells to Attach Tumors (The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center)
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08/10/2017
Moffitt Cancer Center Makes Strides to Improve Quality of Cancer Care for LGBTQ Patients (Moffitt Cancer Center)
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08/09/2017
Carbone Study Finds Protein That Improves Immune Response in Colon Cancer (University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center)
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08/07/2017
Investigators Match Novel Cancer Mutations with Potential Therapies (Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center)
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08/07/2017
NCCN Foundation Announces Fifth 2017 Young Investigator Award

NCCN Foundation Young Investigator Awards provide funding over a two-year period for research initiatives focused on assessing and improving outcomes in cancer care.

Liqin Zhu, PhD

[FORT WASHINGTON, PA – August 7, 2017] The NCCN Foundation® has granted its fifth Young Investigator Award for the 2017 cycle to Liqin Zhu, PhD, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital/University of Tennessee Health Science Center, for the study titled, “Patient-Derived Tumor Spheroids for High-Risk Hepatoblastoma Drug Discovery.” Dr. Zhu joins four additional awardees named earlier this year, representing the seventh series of NCCN Foundation Young Investigator Awards—a program initiated in 2011. The grants provide researchers at National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) Member Institutions with funding over a two-year period to each awardee.

“NCCN Foundation is happy to provide funding to Dr. Zhu for study of this rare childhood liver cancer. Identification of biological characteristics of high-risk hepatoblastoma indeed has the potential to aid in discovery of new treatment interventions for this understudied disease,” said Marcie R. Reeder, MPH, Executive Director, NCCN Foundation. “We congratulate Dr. Zhu on her nomination and award and look forward to her contributions to the Young Investigator Award program.”

Following is the full list of 2017 awardees:

  • Kemi Doll, MD, MSCR, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center/Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, “Racial Disparities in Endometrial Cancer”
  • Saad Kenderian, MB, CHB, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, “Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-Cell Therapy in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia: Mechanisms of Resistance and Strategies to Enhance Efficacy”
  • Florian Muller, PhD, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, “ENO1-Deletion as a Target for Personalized Oncology: Collateral Lethality to the Clinic”
  • Elizabeth Stewart, MD, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital/University of Tennessee Health Science Center, “Preclinical Match”
  • Liqin Zhu, PhD, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital/University of Tennessee Health Science Center, “Patient-Derived Tumor Spheroids for High-Risk Hepatoblastoma Drug Discovery”

The awardees responded to a Request for Proposals issued by the NCCN Foundation to the NCCN Member Institutions and were nominated by their institutions. All submissions were reviewed by a multidisciplinary panel of oncology experts; the awardees were selected based on several key components, including scientific merit and study design.  The studies will be managed and overseen by the NCCN Oncology Research Program (ORP).

The 2017 awardees will have the opportunity to present their findings during a future NCCN Annual Conference General Poster Session and their abstracts will be featured in JNCCN – Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.

Since its inception in 2011, NCCN Foundation has provided funding to 36 U.S. researchers through the Young Investigator Awards. On March 23 and 24, 2017, NCCN featured abstracts from the fifth series of Young Investigator Awards recipients during the NCCN 22nd Annual Conference General Poster Session in Orlando, Florida.

The 2017 NCCN Foundation Young Investigator Awards were made possible through support from AbbVie Inc., Amgen Inc., Genentech, Merck & Co. Inc., Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, Takeda Oncology, and Pfizer Inc.

For more information about the NCCN Young Investigator Awards, visit NCCNFoundation.org.

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About NCCN Foundation
NCCN Foundation® was founded by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network®(NCCN®) to empower people with cancer and advance oncology innovation. NCCN Foundation supports people with cancer and their caregivers at every step of their treatment journey by delivering unbiased expert guidance from the world’s leading cancer experts through the library of NCCN Guidelines for Patients® and other patient education resources. NCCN Foundation is also committed to advancing cancer treatment by funding the nation’s promising young investigators at the forefront of cancer research, initiating momentum in their careers and furthering the betterment of patients through their groundbreaking innovations. For more information about NCCN Foundation, visit http://www.nccnfoundation.org.

About the National Comprehensive Cancer Network
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®), a not-for-profit alliance of 27 leading cancer centers devoted to patient care, research, and education, is dedicated to improving the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of cancer care so that patients can live better lives. Through the leadership and expertise of clinical professionals at NCCN Member Institutions, NCCN develops resources that present valuable information to the numerous stakeholders in the health care delivery system. As the arbiter of high-quality cancer care, NCCN promotes the importance of continuous quality improvement and recognizes the significance of creating clinical practice guidelines appropriate for use by patients, clinicians, and other health care decision-makers.

The NCCN Member Institutions are: Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center, Omaha, NE; Case Comprehensive Cancer Center/University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center and Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute, Cleveland, OH; City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center, Los Angeles, CA; Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center | Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Boston, MA; Duke Cancer Institute, Durham, NC; Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA; Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT; Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center/Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Seattle, WA; The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, MD; Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, Chicago, IL; Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, Phoenix/Scottsdale, AZ, Jacksonville, FL, and Rochester, MN; Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY; Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL; The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute, Columbus, OH; Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY; Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO; St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital/The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN; Stanford Cancer Institute, Stanford, CA; University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center, Birmingham, AL; UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center, La Jolla, CA; UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, San Francisco, CA; University of Colorado Cancer Center, Aurora, CO; University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, Ann Arbor, MI; The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX; University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center, Madison, WI; Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Nashville, TN; and Yale Cancer Center/Smilow Cancer Hospital, New Haven, CT.

Clinicians, visit NCCN.org. Patients and caregivers, visit NCCN.org/patients. Media, visit NCCN.org/news.

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08/07/2017
NCCN “Just Bag It!” Campaign Reaches 100 Adopters Nationwide

100 cancer centers throughout the country have pledged to adopt a life-saving administration policy for vincristine

[FORT WASHINGTON, PA — August 7, 2017] During the launch of the campaign in November 2016, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) called on cancer centers and practices that deliver chemotherapy to commit to Just Bag It: The NCCN Campaign for Safe Vincristine Handling. Today, NCCN announces that 100 adopters have confirmed their participation in the effort. The full list is available at NCCN.org/justbagit.

As part of its mission to improve the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of cancer care so that patients can live better lives, NCCN launched the Just Bag It! campaign to encourage health care providers across the United States and the world to adopt a policy to always dilute and administer vincristine in a mini IV-drip bag to prevent a deadly medical error.

“NCCN commends the efforts of the 100 cancer centers, including the 27 NCCN Member Institutions, who have demonstrated their commitment to patient safety, and we thank them for pushing our message forward,” said Robert W. Carlson, MD, Chief Executive Officer, NCCN. “NCCN hopes the number of pledges will continue to climb as centers become more aware of this small change that indeed saves patients’ lives.”

Prior to the launch in November, all 27 NCCN Member Institutions had adopted policies in line with the Guidelines, which are also recommended by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, the Joint Commission, the World Health Organizations and the Oncology Nursing Society. Since the press conference that gained local and national attention, NCCN has continued its campaign through e-mail and social media outreach, as well as live meetings, including the NCCN Patient Advocacy Summit, the NCCN 22nd Annual Conference, and the Oncology Nursing Society Annual Congress.

Vincristine is a chemotherapy agent, widely used in patients with Leukemia or Lymphoma, which should be administered intravenously—directly into the patient’s vein. When it enters the blood, it is highly effective at blocking the growth of cancer by preventing cells from separating. However, vincristine is a neurotoxin that causes peripheral neuropathy when given intravenously and profound neurotoxicity if given into the spinal fluid, which flows around the spinal cord and brain.

Many patients who receive vincristine have a treatment regimen that includes other chemotherapy drugs that are administered intrathecally, or injected into the spinal fluid with a syringe.  If vincristine is administered mistakenly into the spinal fluid, it is uniformly fatal, causing ascending paralysis and eventual death.

In 2005, NCCN Chief Executive Officer Robert W. Carlson, MD, a medical oncologist, witnessed such a tragedy with a 21-year-old patient with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma named Christopher Wibeto. Wibeto was transferred to Dr. Carlson’s care after receiving incorrectly administered vincristine at another hospital. Dr. Carlson watched the young man go from having a treatable condition to deteriorating and dying over the course of four days. Motivated by this tragic experience, Dr. Carlson spearheaded a national effort to address this deadly error when he arrived at NCCN, enlisting the help of its Best Practices Committee, which is dedicated to improving cancer treatment protocols.

“The Just Bag It campaign is the latest of NCCN’s long-standing efforts to improve the safe use of drugs in cancer care,” said F. Marc Stewart, MD, Medical Director of the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Member of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Professor of Medicine at University of Washington, and Co-Chair of the NCCN Best Practices Committee. “For more than 15 years, the Best Practices Committee has worked to ensure the highest standards of safety for patients, and we applaud the 100 adopters of this policy at their treatment centers.”

To ensure that vincristine is always administered properly, NCCN has issued guidelines and updated NCCN Chemotherapy Order Templates (NCCN Templates®) advising health care providers to always dilute and administer vincristine in a mini IV-drip bag and never use a syringe to administer the medication. This precaution renders it impossible to accidentally administer the medication into the spinal fluid and greatly decreases the chances of improper dosage.

MiKaela Olsen, MS, APRN-CNS, AOCNS, an oncology nurse at The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, one of the NCCN Member Institutions, recently spearheaded a center-wide effort to administer vincristine via mini IV-drip bags, the results of which she presented at the Oncology Nursing Society Annual Congress in May.

“At Johns Hopkins Hospital, our pediatric colleagues made this successful practice change first.  After thoughtful design of the step-by-step procedure, policy revisions, and collaboration between nursing and pharmacy, the change was implemented in adult oncology,” said Ms. Olsen. “Our staff feel confident that this new procedure is safe and that it is absolutely the right thing to do to prevent patient harm. Once we made the change, we did not look back. Eliminating the risk of harm was our number one priority.”

With 125 known cases of accidental death in the United States and abroad since the inception of vincristine use in the 1960s, this error is relatively rare. Still, it is unique in its level of mortality. Improvements in practice over the years, including manufacturer- and pharmacist-issued warning labels, have reduced the number of deaths, but the error continues to occur.

“Every medical center, hospital, and oncology practice that makes the commitment to ‘Just Bag It’ takes an important step toward patient safety and ensures that this error will never happen again,” Dr. Carlson said. “Christopher’s memory inspires us to never give up telling his story and remaining vigilant for this cause.”

For more information about Just Bag It: The NCCN Campaign for Safe Vincristine Handling, or to report that a medical facility has adopted a vincristine policy, visit NCCN.org/justbagit.

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