Oncology NEWS International Vol 5 No 7

Princess Diana Helps Raise Over $1 Million for Cancer Research

July 01, 1996

CHICAGO--A visit by Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales to the Lurie Cancer Center of Northwestern University raised more than $1 million to support cancer research and benefit patients (see photo ). The funds will go to the Lurie Cancer Center; Gilda's Club, a support group for cancer patients named for comedian Gilda Radner who died of ovarian cancer in 1989; and The Royal Marsden Hospital, London, of which The Princess is president.

Study Gives Terminal Patients Option: $18,000 or More Treatment

July 01, 1996

ASCO--Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University's Massey Cancer Center have launched what is believed to be the first willingness-to-pay study done in a real-life setting. Thomas J. Smith, MD, reported on potential problems created by the innovative study design at a scientific session of the ASCO annual meeting in Philadelphia.

Proven: Colorectal Screening Cuts Deaths 50%

July 01, 1996

SAN FRANCISCO--Average-risk individuals over age 50 can be effectively screened for colorectal cancer by use of annual fecal occult blood testing and sigmoidoscopy every 5 years, John H. Bond, MD, said at a press conference during Digestive Disease Week (DDW).

Virtual Colonoscopy Technique Feasible in Detecting Polyps

July 01, 1996

SAN DIEGO--Use of two- and three-dimensional helical computed tomographic colography (CTC) appears to be a feasible technique for the detection of colorectal polyps, Mayo Clinic researcher Amy K. Hara, MD, said at the American Roentgen Ray Society annual meeting.

Trimetrexate Appears Beneficial in Colorectal Cancer

July 01, 1996

PHILADELPHIA--The addition of trimetrexate (NeuTrexin) to the standard chemotherapeutic regimen of fluorouracil and leucovorin in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer resulted in an improved response rate with no greater toxicity in a study reported at the Oncology Nursing Society meeting.

FDA Liaison Program Answers Patients' Questions About Trials

July 01, 1996

BETHESDA, Md--The volume of calls from cancer patients to the FDA's Cancer Liaison Program has increased steadily since the program was established at the end of 1993, Patty Delaney of the FDA said at a meeting of the Oncology Drugs Advisory Committee (ODAC)

New Company Joins With RPR To Develop Intrabody Technology

July 01, 1996

COLLEGEVILLE, Penn--Intra-immune Therapies, Inc., a new company formed by Dr. Wayne Marasco, of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, has joined the Rhône-Poulenc Rorer Gencell network to help accelerate the development of its innovate intrabody, or intracellular antibody, technology.

More Insurers Covering ABMT, Despite Lack of Efficacy Data

July 01, 1996

WASHINGTON--A General Accounting Office (GAO) report has found that more insurers are now covering autologous bone marrow transplants (ABMT) for patients with breast cancer even though the treatment is expensive and the benefits are not proven.

Klausner Requests Funds for Five Important 'Investment Opportunities' in Cancer Research

July 01, 1996

WASHINGTON--In an unusual budgetary maneuver, NCI director Richard Klausner, MD, has asked Congress to give the Institute an added $269.5 million in fiscal year 1998 to fund "extraordinary opportunities for new investments" in the battle against cancer.

CDC Says Teen Smoking Still Rising

July 01, 1996

ATLANTA--The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a report stating that teenage smoking has increased from 27.5% of all high school students in 1991 to 34.8% in 1995. And smoking among African-American boys has doubled, from 14.1% in 1991 to 27.8% in 1995.

ThinPrep Pap Test Offers Improved Slide Preparation

July 01, 1996

MARLBOROUGH, Mass--Cytyc Corporation's ThinPrep 2000 System for cervical cancer screening has received FDA approval and is now available. The system offers an improved method of preparing Pap smears over the conventional method, leading to fewer retests due to compromised smears and potentially fewer missed abnormalities.

Taxotere for Anthracycline Refractory Advanced Breast Cancer

July 01, 1996

COLLEGEVILLE, Penn--Rhône-Poulenc Rorer Inc.'s Taxotere (docetaxel) is now available for treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer that has progressed during anthracycline-based therapy or relapsed during anthracycline-based adjuvant therapy.

ODAC Recommends Approval of Aredia for Breast Cancer Bone Mets

July 01, 1996

GAITHERSBURG, Md--The FDA's Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee (ODAC) voted unanimously to recommend approval of Ciba-Geigy Corp.'s Aredia (pamidronate disodium for injection) for the treatment of osteolytic bone metastases in breast cancer patients undergoing either chemotherapy or hormonal therapy.

Hycamtin Approved For Ovarian Cancer

July 01, 1996

PHILADELPHIA--SmithKline Beecham's Hycamtin (topotecan) has received marketing clearance from the FDA for the treatment of patients with metastatic ovarian cancer after failure of initial or subsequent chemotherapy. It is the first topoisomerase I inhibitor approved for use in the United States.

Chemoradiation Boosts Survival in Patients With Nasopharynx Cancer

July 01, 1996

ASCO--The preliminary results of an Intergroup study of patients with locally advanced nasopharyngeal cancer show a highly significant improvement in survival with the use of chemoradia-tion, compared with radiation alone, Muhyi Al-Sarraf, MD, said at the ASCO plenary session.

PCR-Based HIV Test Monitors Viral Load

July 01, 1996

BRANCHBURG, NJ--Roche Diagnostic Systems Inc.'s Amplicor H.I.V.-1 monitor test for use in determining viral load in individuals infected with HIV has received FDA approval for marketing. The test uses polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology to measure HIV genetic material in the blood.

NCI Acts as Catalyst for New Middle East Cancer Consortium

July 01, 1996

BETHESDA, Md--The National Cancer Institute has orchestrated an agreement between the Ministers of Health of Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority. The five ministers recently gathered in Geneva to sign the Middle East Cancer Consortium (MECC) agreement.

FDA Approves Camptosar for Metastatic Colorectal Cancer

July 01, 1996

GAITHERSBURG, Md--By a unanimous vote, the FDA's Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee (ODAC) recommended accelerated approval of Pharmacia & Upjohn's Camptosar (irinotecan hydrochloride injection), and the FDA responded by giving its ok to the drug 28 hours later.

Alternating Docetaxel With Cisplatin/Vinorelbine Less Toxic in NSCLC

July 01, 1996

ASCO--Cycling docetaxel (Taxo-tere) treatments with cisplatin (Platinol) and vinorelbine (Navelbine) achieves better response rates in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients than can be expected from any of the components used alone or in traditional combination, according to the multicenter pilot study presented by Jean Viallet, MD, at a pos-ter session of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting in Philadelphia

Radiologist Most Likely Target in Breast Cancer Lawsuits

July 01, 1996

DALLAS--In the last 5 years, radiologists have become the specialists most often sued over breast cancer diagnoses, said Cathy R. Bowerman, JD, MPH, of the Southfield, Michigan, firm of Siemion, Huckabay, Bodary, Padilla, Morganti, & Bowerman.

Corrections to an Article By Peter Kennedy, MD

July 01, 1996

Oncology News International would like to correct two errors that appeared in Dr. Peter Kennedy's article on space sharing (May 1996, page 12), as part of the Oncology & Managed Care series edited by Dr. Cary Presant.

Zosyn Is Cleared for Treatment Of Nosocomial Pneumonia

July 01, 1996

ST. DAVIDS, Penn--Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories' Zosyn (pipera-cillin/tazobactam) is now indicated for use in treating moderate to severe nosocomial pneumonia caused by piperacillin-resistant beta-lactamase-producing strains of Staphylococcus aureus. In a multicenter study of 300 patients with nosocomial pneumonia, the rate of clinical cure or improvement for Zosyn plus tobramycin was 74%, compared with 50% for cef-tazidime plus tobramycin, the company said.

Panel Recommends FDA Approval of Gliadel for GBM

July 01, 1996

GAITHERSBURG, Md--An FDA advisory panel has recommended approval of Guilford Pharmaceutical's Gliadel Wafer (polifeprosan 20 with carmustine) for use as an adjunct to surgery to prolong survival in recurrent glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).

University of Pittsburgh, Abbott Labs to Develop Ras Inhibitors

July 01, 1996

PITTSBURGH--The University of Pittsburgh, through the researchof investigators Saïd Sebti, PhD, and Andrew Hamilton, PhD,has entered into a research agreement with Abbott Laboratoriesto develop novel cancer drugs that block the activity of the rasoncogene.

RODEO Breast MRI Promising in Lobular Cancer Diagnosis

July 01, 1996

DALLAS--RODEO breast MRI proved significantly more accurate than mammography in determining the extent of lobular carcinoma and in characterizing the morphology of the disease, Steven E. Harms, MD, said at the American College of Radiology breast cancer symposium.

NIH Plans to Disband RAC

July 01, 1996

Bethesda , Md--NIH director Harold Varmus has announced plants to disband the Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee (RAC). The committee was formed in 1975 as a panel of 24 scientists, ethicists, and others at NIH dedicated to holding those in the field of biogenetics accountable to the public.

Insurance Policies for Cancer: Made in Japan

July 01, 1996

The financial burden of a long-term illness such as cancer can be devastating, with as much as 66% of the costs of cancer being nonmedical[1]. These financial concerns are leading some Americans to buy insurance policies that, upon diagnosis of cancer, assist them in paying for their care.

AUA Papers Confirm Value of Free PSA

July 01, 1996

ORLANDO--An assay that measures the proportion of free and bound prostate-specific antigen (PSA) has been found to discriminate between prostate cancer and benign conditions that elevate PSA, thus reducing the rate of unnecessary biopsies, several research groups reported at the American Urological Association annual meeting.

Panel Advises What to Do When PSA Rises After Cancer Therapy

July 01, 1996

ORLANDO--Today, after more than 10 years of research, PSA-related testing can daunt even the most experienced urologists, said a panel of experts at the American Urological Association meeting. Three panelists advised urologists on how to interpret a rising PSA after prostate cancer treatment and what further actions to take when this occurs.

Patent Granted for MoAbs Used in Neoprobe's RIGScan Products

July 01, 1996

DUBLIN, Ohio--Neoprobe Corporation has announced that a patent granted to Jeffrey Schlom, PhD, of the National Cancer Institute, and David Colcher, PhD, of the University of Nebraska Medical Center, covers claims to composition of matter for a large group of second-generation monoclonal antibodies that target the tumor-associated antigen TAG-72.

System Using Interactive Video Brings Oncology Services to Rural Kansans

July 01, 1996

ASCO--After more than a year of operating a teleoncology service, University of Kansas researchers have seen no discrepancies between consultations conducted via interactive video and subsequent on-site assessments. The University turned to teleoncology to better serve patients in sparsely settled areas of the state, Gary C. Doolittle, MD, co-director of the telemedicine service, said in his ASCO presentation in Philadelphia.

Taxol Combination in NCSLC

July 01, 1996

ASCO--Non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients receiving paclitaxel (Taxol) plus cisplatin (Platinol) had longer survival and achieved high-er rates of response than patients receiving a current standard chemotherapy regimen of cisplatin plus etoposide (VePesid) in a multicenter phase III trial, Phillip Bonomi, MD, reported at a scientific session of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting in Philadelphia.

Home Test for AIDS Virus Is Being Test Marketed in Two States

July 01, 1996

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ--Confide, the first home collection HIV testing and counseling service, has received FDA approval and is now being test marketed in Texas and Florida. The test was developed by Direct Access Diagnostics, a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary based in Bridgewater, NJ, in conjunction with Chiron Corporation.