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Featured Oncology News

Experimental Drug Helps Women With Deadly Type of Breast Cancer

(U.S. News & World Report/HealthDay News) Feb 20, 2019 - An experimental drug has shown promise in extending the lives of women suffering from a particularly aggressive and deadly type of breast cancer, according to the results of a phase 2 trial. Right now, the standard treatment of chemotherapy for metastatic triple-negative breast cancer has not been very effective. That might change with the new drug, called sacituzumab govitecan, which combines an antibody with a chemotherapy drug to better target cancer cells.

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FDA Official Says Ongoing Blood Pressure Drug Investigation Will Probably Uncover More Tainted Pills

(CNN) Feb 22, 2019 - There's no end in sight for one of the largest prescription drug recalls in recent memory. The US Food and Drug Administration is continuing an investigation and recall of a class of drugs used by millions that began last summer, yet there's still "more to find," an agency director says. Starting in July, separate lots of blood pressure medications from various companies were pulled from pharmacy shelves. They're known as angiotensin II receptor blockers or ARBs and contain either valsartan, losartan or irbesartan. The reason? These blood pressure drugs contained impurities that pose a cancer risk to users.

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Merck Scooping Up Cancer Drug Developer Immune Design for $300M

(Xconomy New York) Feb 21, 2019 - Four months after Immune Design halted a late-stage study for its lead cancer vaccine and saw its stock price cut nearly in half, the immunotherapy company is now in line to join Merck’s pipeline in a deal worth approximately $300 million. Merck announced Thursday that it has agreed to pay $5.85 per share in cash to acquire Immune Design. Shares of the Seattle company, which also has operations in South San Francisco, CA, closed at $1.42 on Wednesday. Immune Design develops vaccines intended to prompt an immune response to fight cancer. The company says its immunotherapies activate the body’s ability to create cytotoxic T cells that are specific to the patient’s tumors.

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FDA Tightens Regulation Of Over-The-Counter Sunscreen Products

(NBCNews/Reuters) Feb 21, 2019 - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a long awaited update to sunscreen rules aimed at strengthening regulations of over-the-counter sunscreens Thursday. Two of the 16 currently used main chemical ingredients in over-the-counter sunscreen products are considered safe, the FDA says, as part of a proposal here aimed at improving the safety and quality of sunscreen products sold without prescription in the United States.

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Johnson & Johnson Says It’s Been Subpoenaed By SEC, Justice Department

(MarketWatch/WSJ) Feb 20, 2019 - Johnson & Johnson said Wednesday it received subpoenas from the U.S. Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission seeking documents related to the safety of its signature baby powder and other talc-containing products. A J&J spokesman said the inquiries were related to news reports in December about product-liability lawsuits against the company, which caused J&J’s stock price to fall sharply. J&J disclosed the subpoenas in an annual report filed Wednesday with the SEC. The company said it would cooperate with the government inquiries and continue to defend itself in the product-liability litigation.

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Looking to Technology to Avoid Doctors’ Offices and Emergency Rooms

(New York Times) Feb 21, 2019 - As politicians debate how to improve the nation’s expensive — and some would say broken — health care system, Americans are eagerly turning to the latest tech devices in hopes of preventing and detecting medical problems early and avoiding costly trips to the doctor or emergency room. “Technology every day is playing a more important role in preventing and even diagnosing illness,” said Gary Shapiro, chief executive of the Consumer Technology Association and author of “Ninja Future: Secrets to Success in the New World of Innovation.” “We are just beginning this journey of revolutionizing health care and reducing trips to the doctor.” Among the new inventions are many that use artificial intelligence, sensors or so-called internet of things (IoT) connectivity to do a host of groundbreaking tasks, from detecting Alzheimer’s from the sound of your voice to telling breast cancer patients, in real-time, if their chemotherapy treatment is working.

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Oncology Clinical News

CASSINI Trial Publishes Data On Preventing Blood Clots In Cancer Patients

(Fred Hutch) Feb 20, 2019 - Study data could inform new guidelines for diagnosing, preventing and treating cancer patients at high risk of developing blood clots.

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Study Finds Way to Potentially Improve Immunotherapy for Cancer

(Cedars-Sinai) Feb 20, 2019 - A new study has identified a drug that potentially could make a common type of immunotherapy for cancer even more effective.

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Asian Women Who Immigrate To U.S. May Have Higher Breast Cancer Risk, Research Finds

(NBCNews.com) Feb 20, 2019 - Asian women who immigrate to the United States may have a higher risk of breast cancer than those born here, new preliminary research has found, an apparent shift from historical norms of U.S. women having higher breast cancer rates compared to the rest of the world.

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Being Overweight in Adolescence May Increase Kidney Cancer Risk Later in Life

(Wiley) Feb 21, 2019 - Being overweight has been linked with a higher risk of developing a form of kidney cancer called renal cell carcinoma (RCC) among adults, but it’s unclear if this risk is present during adolescence.

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Whole Grains Might Help Ward Off Liver Cancer

(Reuters Health) Feb 21, 2019 - Yet another benefit of eating a diet containing high amounts of whole grains may be a reduced risk of liver cancer, a new U.S. study suggests.

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Five Prime Therapeutics Doses First Patient in Phase 1b Trial of FPA150

(AP) Feb 20, 2019 - Five Prime Therapeutics, Inc., a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on discovering and developing innovative immuno-oncology protein therapeutics, today announced that it initiated patient dosing in the Phase 1b dose expansion portion of the Phase 1a/1b clinical trial of FPA150 (FPA150-001; NCT03514121), a first-in-class immuno-oncology antibody that targets B7-H4.

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Oncology Business and Policy News

Questions About CAR T Study Lead to Nature, NEJM Retractions

(Medscape Medical News) Feb 20, 2019 - Research describing how CAR T cells could reach the brain has issues with 'underlying data,' leading to retraction of both a Nature paper and an NEJM review.

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Investor Starboard Unhappy With Bristol-Myers' Deal to Buy Celgene

(Morningstar/Dow Jones Newswires) Feb 20, 2019 - Activist investor Starboard Value LP is unhappy with Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.'s deal to buy rival Celgene Corp., and it has moved to install its own set of directors at Bristol-Myers.

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Blaze Bio Raises $5M to Help Surgeons See Tumors From Healthy Tissue

(Xconomy Seattle) Feb 20, 2019 - Blaze Bioscience, a Seattle-based biotech developing “tumor paint” that could help surgeons tell the difference between normal and cancerous tissue, has raised $5 million in new equity funding to help advance its lead product candidate through clinical trials.

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RTsafe's PseudoPatient Makes Brain Radiotherapy Much Safer

(Forbes) Feb 20, 2019 - When radiotherapy for cancer patients turns its beam to the brain, every missed target could have serious health repercussions, for instance, the patient could experience sense or speech loss, concentration lapses or even paralysis.

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The Financial Toxicity of Illness

(New York Times/Living With Cancer) Feb 21, 2019 - While medicine transforms cancer into a chronic disease with which patients can live for an extended period of time, financial toxicity threatens to turn chronic, too.

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Drug Prices Based On Success Could Speed Up Cancer Patients' Treatment

(Cancer Research UK) Feb 21, 2019 - Paying for cancer drugs based on how well they work in practice could help patients get new treatments faster, according to a Cancer Research UK report published today.

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MolecularMD is Acquired by ICON

(NASDAQ) Feb 21, 2019 - MolecularMD Corporation, a molecular diagnostic specialty laboratory that enables the development and commercialisation of precision medicines in oncology, announced today that it has been acquired by ICON plc.

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Broader Healthcare and Pharma News

Government Headed For Close To Half Of Nation’s Health Tab

(AP) Feb 20, 2019 - Even without a history-making health care remake to deliver “Medicare-for-all,” government at all levels will be paying nearly half the nation’s health care tab in less than 10 years, according to a federal report released Wednesday.

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Catalyst Tries To Mollify An Angry Bernie Sanders Over The Price Of Its Rare Disease Drug

(STAT Plus) Feb 21, 2019 - After being publicly skewered by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) over the $375,000 price tag for its rare disease drug, Catalyst Pharmaceuticals released a lengthy response defending the steps being taken to ensure the medicine is accessible to patients.

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Statement from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., On Additional Steps By The Agency To Support The Development Of Safe And Effective Novel Nicotine Replacement Therapies To Help Smokers Quit Cigarettes

(FDA.gov) Feb 21, 2019 - More than 54 years after the landmark Surgeon General’s report on smoking and health, tobacco use – primarily cigarette smoking – remains the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the U.S., responsible for 480,000 premature deaths each year.

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FDA Advances New Proposed Regulation To Make Sure That Sunscreens Are Safe And Effective

(FDA.gov) Feb 21, 2019 - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today issued a proposed rule that would update regulatory requirements for most sunscreen products in the United States.

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