NEWS

Chemical sensors implanted during a biopsy can measure changes in pH and dissolved oxygen—signs of response to treatment.
September 4

Immune response to parasitic infection causes chromosomal translocations.
September 3

Vismodegib is active against a subtype of medulloblastoma in adults and children.
August 25

Direct contact with normal cells in the skin’s outermost layer sparks Notch signaling and aggressive disease.
August 25

Four other NCI-designated institutes earn the Comprehensive Cancer Center moniker.
August 21

Board advises and guides cancer programs run by the NCI.
August 20

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RESEARCH WATCH

EML4–ALK+ lung cancer cells depend on the RAS–MAPK effector pathway for survival.
September 3

Broad H3K4me3 peaks are specifically associated with increased expression of tumor suppressors.
September 3

Mutant PIK3CA induces a multipotent transcription program in lineage-committed basal and luminal cells.
August 27

GITR costimulation induces antitumor immune responses via TH9 differentiation and IL9 production.

August 27

RORC1 promotes protumorigenic innate immunity by stimulating “emergency” myelopoiesis.
August 20

Biliary tract cancers exhibit distinct mutational and driver gene spectra across anatomic subtypes.
August 20

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NOTED THIS WEEK

September 3, 2015

The FDA ordered three tobacco manu-
facturers to stop describing their products as “additive-free” and/or “natural,”
claims that could lead consumers to believe that the products aren’t as harmful as traditional cigarettes. The action marks the first time that the FDA has used its authority under a 2009 law to pursue regulatory action against companies using such claims on product packaging without first submitting scientific evidence to support the claims. The companies are ITG Brands, which sells Winston cigarettes; Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company, which sells Natural American Spirit cigarettes; and Sherman’s 1400 Broadway N.Y.C., which sells Nat Sherman cigarettes.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the NCI released a report that includes federal statistics on cancer incidence and mortality. Titled “1999–2012 United States Cancer Statistics: Incidence and Mortality Web-Based Report,” the document shows that in 2012, 1,529,078 Americans were diagnosed with cancer, and 582,607 Americans died of the disease, not counting in situ cancers or cases of basal and squamous cell skin cancers.

The FDA granted Orphan Drug Desig-
nation to afatinib
(Gilotrif; Boehringer Ingelheim) for the treatment of advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the lung that progresses after first-line chemotherapy. The drug is currently approved for the treatment
of specific types of EGFR mutation–positive non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

In addition, the FDA granted a 6-month Priority Review to MCNA (Telesta Thera-
peutics), a biologic therapy designed to treat patients with high-risk non–muscle invasive bladder cancer who are refractory to or relapsing from first-line therapy. Derived from nonpathogenic bacteria, MCNA is believed to directly affect the cancer as well as stimulate the immune system.

In a bipartisan effort, three U.S. represen-
tatives launched the Lung Cancer Cau-
cus,
which will provide information to Con-
gress on a variety of lung cancer topics. These include eliminating the stigma associated with its diagnosis, the state of lung cancer research, screening and treatment to improve survival, and the impact of the disease on women, minority communities, and members of the military.

Novartis announced that the European Commission has approved the combin-
ation of dabrafenib (Tafinlar) and trametinib (Mekinist)
for the treatment of adults with unresectable or metastatic mela-
noma with a BRAF V600 mutation. The approval was based on two phase III trials of the combination therapy that demonstrated significantly improved overall survival compared with the current standard of care—BRAF inhibitor monotherapy.

Due to a sagging economy and growing debt, the government of Brazil has cut the 2015 budget of the Ministry of Science by 25%, Science reported. The budget of the Ministry of Education, which helps fund graduate students, was cut by 9%. In response, research organizations have delayed grant payments and have canceled or delayed new requests for proposals for scientific research.

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) issued an updated policy statement on genetic and genomic testing for cancer susceptibility. Published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the statement explains how new technologies, such as next-generation sequencing, are transforming the assessment and identification of inherited cancer susceptibility, and makes recommendations for using the technologies.

ASCO also updated its guideline on systemic therapy for patients with stage IV NSCLC. The guideline, also published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, provides evidence-based recommendations on the use of chemotherapy and targeted therapy in first-, second-, and third-line treatment.

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RESEARCH WATCH