Oncology NEWS International Vol 4 No 2

FTC Advised to List Tar and Nicotine Levels Directly on Cigarette Packages

February 01, 1995

BETHESDA, Md--An expert advisory committee to the President's Cancer Panel believes that the method of testing levels of tar, nicotine, and carbon monoxide in cigarettes is inadequate, as is the system used by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to inform consumers about these levels and what they mean to the smoker's health.

Navelbine Is Now Available for Use in Inoperable Advanced Stage NSCLC

February 01, 1995

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC--Navelbine (vinorelbine tartrate), a semisynthetic vinca alkaloid, has become the first new treatment to receive FDA approval for inoperable advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in 20 years, Burroughs Wellcome Co., manufacturer of Navelbine, announced at a telephone news conference.

ASH Panel: How Many Hemotologists/Oncologists Are Enough?

February 01, 1995

NASHVILLE--The independence of hematologists/oncologists, including the specialty's right to determine the size of its residency programs, is being threatened by the changes occurring in health care, Daniel Rosenblum, MD, said at a forum on health-care reform at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH).

FDA to Build $600 Million Campus

February 01, 1995

ROCKVILLE, Md--By the year 2003, the FDA hopes to be settled into its new 539-acre home in Clarksburg, Md, a small farming community about 15 miles north of the agency's main Rockville headquarters.

Finasteride Studied as Prostate Ca Preventive

February 01, 1995

NEW YORK--Finasteride (Pros-car), currently FDA approved for use in patients with symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), is also being investigated as a prostate cancer treatment and is showing promise as an agent to prevent prostate cancer by reducing levels of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), Glenn J. Gormley, MD, PhD, said at the first International Conference on Cancer Prevention.

Thrombopoietin Raises Platelet Counts in Animals

February 01, 1995

NASHVILLE--In the last year, at least four groups have reported cloning proteins that appear to be the long-elusive megakaryocyte colony-stimulating growth factor thrombopoietin, which acts via the mpl cell surface receptor.

Major Cancer Centers Form Network to Negotiate With Insurers

February 01, 1995

NEW YORK--Thirteen of the nation's leading cancer centers have announced the creation of a national alliance that will develop and institute standards of care and clinical guidelines for the treatment of cancer and perform outcomes research.

ACS Panel on Prostate Cancer: Painful Skeletal Mets Require Special Management

February 01, 1995

PHILADELPHIA--Pain from skeletal metastasis has a major impact on quality of life in patients with prostate cancer, Mary Layman-Goldstein, RN, OCN, said at the American Cancer Society's National Conference on Prostate Cancer. Ms. Layman-Goldstein, a clinical nurse specialist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, served on a panel discussion on how to manage complications of prostate cancer.

Liposomal Tretinoin in Phase II/III Trials in Kaposi's Sarcoma Patients

February 01, 1995

CAMBRIDGE, Mass--Genzyme Corporation and Argus Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (The Woodlands, Texas) are cosponsoring a phase II/III clinical trial of TretinoinLF in Kaposi's sarcoma patients. TretinoinLF is Argus' intravenous liposomal formulation of all-trans-retinoic acid.

FDA Advisory Board Wants to See Further Analyses of Ethyol Trials

February 01, 1995

ROCKVILLE, Md--The FDA's Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee has declined to recommend Ethyol (amifostine injection, U.S. Bioscience, Inc.) for approval at this time. The drug is being considered as a cytoprotective agent against both the acute and cumulative hematologic and renal toxicities associated with alkylating agents such as cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan, Neo-sar) and platinum agents such as cisplatin (Platinol) in patients with ovarian cancer.

Results Encouraging In First Trial of Gene Therapy in Brain Ca

February 01, 1995

NASHVILLE--Researchers at the National Institutes of Health have seen objective responses in some of the 15 patients treated to date in the first clinical trial of gene therapy in brain tumors, Michael Blaese, MD, said at the scientific subcommittee session on gene therapy at the American Society of Hematology (ASH) meeting.

Improved Ultrasound Enhanses Diagnosis

February 01, 1995

NEW YORK--Transrectal ultrasound is a valuable tool in the diagnosis of prostate cancer, but much can be done to optimize the procedure. W. Holt Sanders, MD, assistant professor of urology, Emory University School of Medicine, says that the basic principle is to "make sure the area of interest is within the focal range."

Cell Sorter Fails to Win Approval

February 01, 1995

ROCKVILLE, Md--The FDA has denied a request by CellPro, Inc. (Bothell, Wash) to approve its cell sorting device Ceprate SC, used investigationally to purify bone marrow or peripheral blood autografts by concentrating CD34+ stem cells. The FDA has asked the company to provide additional information on the device.

Studies Show Dynamic Struggle Between Immune System, HIV

February 01, 1995

NEW YORK--Two new studies show that the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) wages a constant, near steady-state battle with the immune system--from the onset of infection throughout the course of the disease.

FDA Advisory Panel Recommends Vesanoid, Zinecard

February 01, 1995

ROCKVILLE, Md--The FDA Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee has recommended approval of two agents: Hoffmann-La Roche's Vesanoid (tretinoin, all-trans-retinoic acid) and Pharmacia Inc.'s Zinecard (dexrazoxane for injection).

High-Speed Cell Sorter Isolates Pure Stem Cells For Use in Autologous Transplantation Patients

February 01, 1995

NASHVILLE--An experimental high-speed clinical cell selection device has been shown to be capable of isolating a pure population of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), essentially free from cancer cells, and the machine's developer (SyStemix, Inc., Palo Alto, Calif) has received FDA allowance for an active IND (investigational new drug) for clinical testing of HSCs purified by cell selection in cancer patients who are undergoing transplantation.

Zeneca Expands Into Health-Care Services With Salick Purchase

February 01, 1995

WILMINGTON, Del--Zeneca Group PLC, London, the parent company of Zeneca Pharmaceuticals, has entered into an agreement to purchase a 50% interest in Salick Health Care, Inc., Los Angeles, a provider of health-care services to patients with cancer and other complex illnesses. It may be the first time a pharmaceutical company has purchased a health-care provider.

Interferon Used as First - Line CML Therapy

February 01, 1995

Dr. Bishop provides a round-up of presentations given at the Hematologic Malignancies symposium, held in conjunction with the Mid-Atlantic Oncology Program's 13th Annual Scientific Conference.

Study Suggests Schedule for Gyn Exams in Women on Tamoxifen

February 01, 1995

SAN ANTONIO--Gynecologic evaluation of women taking prophylactic tamoxifen (Nolvadex) should be restricted to patients with endometrial thickening that exceeds 8 mm and possibly to premenopausal women with amenorrhea, a British study suggests.

NCI Director Broder Plans to Resign in April

February 01, 1995

WASHINGTON--Samuel Broder, MD, director of the National Cancer Institute since 1989, has announced his resignation effective in April. He will become senior vice president and chief scientific officer at IVAX Corp., Miami.

Virtual Reality Promises to Improve Bronchoscopy

February 01, 1995

CHICAGO--By creating a virtual reality environment, physicians in the not-too-distant future will be able to move through, around, and into a patient's airways to search for tumors, enlarged lymph nodes, and abnormal masses in the walls of the bronchi and surrounding tissue on a computer screen, David J. Vining, MD, predicted at the annual scientific meeting of the Radiological Society of North America.

GAO Finds That Medicare Coverage Varies Greatly by Geographical Area

February 01, 1995

WASHINGTON--In testimony before the House Small Business Subcommittee chaired by Rep. Ron Wyden (D-Ore), the US General Accounting Office (GAO) said that Medicare beneficiaries may be denied reimbursement for certain x-rays and other diagnostic tests, depending on where they live.

ACS Panel : Thorough Evaluation May Point to a Reversible Cause of Post-prostatectomy Urinary Incontinence

February 01, 1995

PHILADELPHIA--Urinary incontinence probably occurs as a complication of radical prostatectomy more often than series reported in the literature suggest, said Jerry G. Blaivas, MD, in a panel discussion of complications of prostate cancer held at the American Cancer Society's National Conference on Prostate Cancer.

Folinic Acid May Improve Survival in Colon Cancer

February 01, 1995

LISBON, Portugal--Although folinic acid and interferon have been shown to heighten the efficacy of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) in colorectal cancer, the ability of these biochemical modulators to prolong survival is less certain. Now a prospective randomized trial conducted in Germany has revealed that patients with advanced, symptomatic colorectal cancer who are treated with 5-FU and folinic acid live longer and have a better quality of life than do those who receive 5-FU and interferon.

Physicians Must Comply With Fraud and Abuse Statutes

February 01, 1995

The second part of this three-part series discusses the various types of fraud and abuse laws, reviews the laws on false claims, and provides suggestions for limiting a physician's exposure to fraud and abuse claims. Part 1, which appeared in the January, 1995, issue of Oncology News International (page 18), discussed the Stark statute, which prohibits self-referrals for certain services covered by Medicare and Medicaid, while the final article will review the Medicare and Medicaid anti-kickback statute.

SoloPak Obtains Rights to Ganite

February 01, 1995

ELK GROVE VILLAGE, Ill--SoloPak Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has signed an agreement with Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research to acquire the exclusive worldwide rights to gallium nitrate (Ganite), which was FDA approved in 1991 for the treatment of acute hypercalcemia in cancer patients and had been manufactured by Fujisawa USA (Deerfield, Ill).