MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR
Stan Gerson, MD
Director, Case CCC
Impact of Genomics on Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment: Open Drug Policy Forum
Last week, I wrote to Cancer Center members regarding the open drug policy forum that we are organizing on Monday, June 24, 2013 in the Wolstein Research Building Auditorium. For those of you who may have overlooked my email, I want to reiterate the importance of this exciting event. Next week, I will update you on confirmed attendees, and the progress of the agenda.
The day will feature panel discussions centered around the Impact of Genomics on Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment. We have assembled cancer experts from six Midwest cancer centers within 150 miles of Cleveland - Roswell Park Cancer Institute, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, Karmanos Cancer Institute, and Case Comprehensive Cancer Center. We have also invited Sen. Sherrod Brown, Rep. Marcia Fudge, Sen. Rob Portman, the NCI, the FDA, and pharmaceutical and insurance company representatives (among others) to participate in this dynamic discussion.
A revolution in cancer care is emerging and will become mainstream over the next few years. We now have the ability to analyze the genetic changes in each person's tumor -- so-called precision or personalized cancer care. However, this often leads to a conundrum. The drug selected based on the genetic mutation may not have been approved for that type of tumor. While a physician can prescribe the drug, insurance and Medicare may not pay for it. Right now the complexity of these issues is disruptive to normal reimbursement policy.
In this forum we will discuss the following:
- How can we be sure that genetic tests are accurate enough to predict the utility of the drug?
- How can we possibly test every conceivable genetic test and drug combination, when each cancer is unique and one cancer may not predict the response of a different cancer?
- Is there any likelihood that this will be a more effective and less costly approach to treating patients, and will there be better outcomes?
Patients have begun to ask for genetic tests and now face the prospect of expecting access to drugs that cannot be reimbursed through insurance carriers. The ways that physicians at cancer centers are evaluating these issues will be described. We will ask the FDA to help us understand the review process for genetic tests, and will educate the public about the complexity of the process and the incredible potential for this new therapeutic approach. Legislation may be needed to change the way drugs are reimbursed based on individualized genetic testing. Now is the time to have the discussion about the approaches that could be taken.
I look forward to your participation in this forum. Registration will open earlier next month.
CASE CCC IN THE NEWS
Fatigue: The Forgotten Symptom?
Oncology Times - Feb 25, 2013
Mellar P. Davis, MD, of the Harry R. Horvitz Center for Palliative Medicine at the Taussig Cancer Institute at Cleveland Clinic Some agreed...
Robin Roberts' Return to Work Spotlights Resuming a Career After Cancer
CBS News - Feb 20, 2013
"We have to take a step back and really respect Robin Roberts for having the courage to talk about her treatments and going back to work," Dr. Mikkael Sekeres, director of the Leukemia Program at Cleveland Clinic's Taussig Institute in Ohio
Coleman, Ruhlman Gifts to University Hospitals Total $14.5 Million for Cancer and Women's Programs
Plain Dealer - Feb 18, 2013
"We're incredibly grateful to Kathy for her ongoing support and her real commitment to discovery and innovation," said Dr. Nathan Levitan, ...
Dr. Dale Shepard Joins Alliance for Clinical Trials Committee
Dale Shepard, MD, PhD, co-director of the Taussig Oncology Program for Seniors (TOPS) and staff physician in the Department of Solid Tumor Oncology at the Cleveland Clinic, was selected as a member of the Cancer in the Elderly committee for the Alliance Cancer Control Program (CCP). This program, part of the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology, conducts innovative scientific studies, including interventional, methodological, and health policy research, to help reduce the incidence, morbidity and mortality of cancer in broad populations. CCP is designed to help researchers better understand the factors that affect cancer risk, identify opportunities to prevent cancer or reduce the impact of cancer and/or its treatment on the patient, improve patient quality of life, and evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of strategies to prevent and control cancer in academic settings, the community and in underserved populations.
Case CCC Protocol Templates Now Required
We have had a great success with our year-long run-in period of using Case CCC protocol templates for investigator-initiated studies. Effective immediately, Case CCC protocol templates are mandatory when developing investigator-initiated protocols, and must contain all protocol template elements and language. These requirements will be enforced by the Case CCC Protocol Review and Monitoring Committee at the time of protocol submission and review.
The Case CCC protocol templates (short and long versions) are available on the Case CCC website. They may also be accessed through links on the Clinical Research Office or Clinical Trials Core Facility. If you have any questions about the templates, please contact Katarzyna Karelus at 216.844.4176 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Doris Duke Innovations in Clinical Research Award
The Doris Duke Innovations in Clinical Research Award provides funding for early-stage research projects in clinical investigation to foster innovations in clinical research that advance the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of human disease. For 2013, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation seeks proposals for cutting-edge clinical research that has the potential to catalyze innovative breakthroughs in sickle cell disease.
LOI Deadline: March 14
Proposal Deadline: May 13
Computational Genomic Epidemiology of Cancer Postdoctoral Training Program
The Case CCC invites applications to its 2-3 year NCI-funded Computational Genomic Epidemiology of Cancer Postdoctoral Training Program. The program combines a mentored cancer research project designed by the fellow in collaboration with their mentors with a specialized curriculum of formal didactic training and individualized longitudinal curriculum.
This program is designed to prepare trainees for careers as independent investigators engaged in research at the intersection of cancer research, genetics, epidemiology, biostatistics and computer science. Cancer researchers obtaining training will have the skills vital to decipher the complex pathways comprising genetic and environmental risk factors for disease, and will ultimately be able to provide clinicians and their patients with valuable information for the prevention and treatment of cancer.
Candidates with an MD, PhD, or MD/PhD degree, strong quantitative skills, and an interest in a career in genetics research are encouraged to apply.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS
Breast Cancer Program in Development Annual Retreat
Drs. William Schiemann and Lyndsay Harris, Co-Leaders of the Breast Cancer Program in Development, invite you to attend the program Annual Retreat on Monday, March 11from 9 am-5:30 pm in the Dively Building on CWRU campus. The agenda is available on the Cancer Center website. Register today.
The Cleveland Melanoma Research Consortium, a new collaboration among basic researchers and clinicians at CWRU, UH, Cleveland Clinic, and VA Medical Center, is pleased to announce a mini-symposium devoted to melanoma research on Monday, March 11 from 3-7 pm in the Wolstein Research Building Auditorium.
This mini-symposium will provide a forum for physician scientists and biomedical researchers to foster communication and develop new collaborations on melanoma research. Research presentations will be organized around the following topics: Therapeutics/Drug Discovery, Cell Signaling and Environmental Effects, Immunology, and Epidemiology. Anyone in the Cancer Center community with an interest in melanoma research is encouraged to participate.
This event is sponsored by the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, Skin Disease Research Center, and Department of Dermatology at Case Western Reserve University. A box meal will be provided. Please RSVP by Wednesday, March 6. The agenda is available on the Cancer Center website.