MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR
Stan Gerson, MD
Director, Case CCC
Impact of Genomics on Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment: Open Drug Policy Forum
I write to you today to encourage you to participate in an important event taking place on campus in early June. The Case CCC will convene a public forum on the emerging revolution in genetic testing known as precision or personalized medicine on Monday, June 10. Titled, Impact of Genomics on Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment: Open Drug Policy Forum, the discussion will focus on the myriad of challenges facing the healthcare, insurance and pharmaceutical industry as this emerging technology rapidly becomes mainstream.
Participants include cancer experts from six Midwest cancer centers within 150 miles of Cleveland- Karmanos Cancer Institute, The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, and the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center. Representatives from the pharmaceutical and insurance industry, public health, patient advocacy, industry and government will also participate in dynamic lectures and discussions to consider the complexities of integrating genetic testing into cancer care.
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.
CASE CCC IN THE NEWS
GRPE Elements to Help Cure HIV Via Gene Therapy
BioSpectrum Asia - Apr 16, 2013
A research team from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine has discovered an approach that could make gene therapy dramatically more effective for patients. Led by professor Dr. Eric Arts, the scientists discovered that the process of gene therapy is missing essential elements thereby reducing the effectiveness of this treatment. Re-introducing this element into their model system suggests that improvements for gene therapy horizon...
"Using lentivirus for gene transfer appears to be a safe option," said Stanton L. Gerson, MD, director of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Asa and Patricia Shiverick- Jane Shiverick (Tripp) Professor of Hematological Oncology at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine and director of the Seidman Cancer Center at University Hospitals Case Medical Center, who is not involved in the study.
Cleveland Clinic App Helps Connect Patients, Doctors, Trials
mobihealthnews - Apr 15, 2013
Cleveland Clinic has built an app to help both physicians and patients find cancer clinical trials. The app, available for free from the iOS AppStore and the Google Play store, allows users to search the Cleveland Clinic's the 130 active clinical trials by disease, phase, hospital location, or doctor... "When patients come in we're always seeing if they're appropriate for our clinical trials," Dr. Brian Rini, an oncologist at the Cleveland Clinic ...
Success of T-cell Therapy in Hematologic Malignancies Cause for Optimism, Concern
Helio/HemOnc Today - Apr 10, 2013
That expansion is responsible for the durability of the remission, according to Mitchell Smith, MD, PhD, director of lymphoid malignancies at Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute.
"What is impressive is that these cells have persisted, expanded and grown for a long time," Smith said. "These cells continue to kill off cells that express CD19."
MARK YOUR CALENDARS
Special In Vivo Imaging Seminar: Advantages of Multiple Modalities, Image Fusion, and Data Analysis in Preclinical Small Animal Imaging
Registration is open for a special in vivo imaging seminar: Advantages of Multiple Modalities, Image Fusion, and Data Analysis in Preclinical Small Animal Imaging, Wednesday, May 8 at the DoubleTree by Hilton- The Tudor Arms Hotel. This half-day seminar will feature four presentations by imaging researchers and preclinical imaging system developers including discussions on new optical and nuclear imaging probes (Dr. Bradley Smith, Univ. of Notre Dame), MRI Assessments of Pathophysiology (Dr. Chris Flask, CWRU), Metabolic Imaging by FDG (Dr. Daan van der Veen, Univ. of Surrey), and Advances in Gamma Detector Technology (Dr. Seth Gammon, Bruker Corporation).
Race for the Place- Join Our Team!
The Race for the Place, an event that benefits the Gathering Place, will be held Sunday, June 2 at Beachwood Place Mall. The Case CCC has created a team. Click here to join the team or to show your support by making a donation. Contact Gillian Todd for more information.
Limited Submission: The Brain Research Foundation Scientific Innovations Award in Neuroscience
The Brain Research Foundation has invited CWRU to nominate one senior faculty member to submit a Letter of Intent for the 2014 Scientific Innovations Award. The objective of the program is to support projects that may be too innovative and speculative for traditional funding sources but still have a high likelihood of producing important findings. It is expected that investigations supported by these grants will yield high impact findings and result in major grant applications and significant publications in high impact journals. This funding mechanism is designed to support creative, exploratory, cutting edge research in well-established research laboratories, under the direction of established investigators.
Internal Deadline: May 10
External Deadline: July 1
Request for Proposals for Pilot Collaborations with LMICs in Global Cancer Research or Global Health Research at NCI-Designated Cancer Centers
The NCI Center for Global Health and the Office of Cancer Centers are announcing a new funding opportunity to promote research collaborations between NCI-designated Cancer Centers with institutions in low and mid-income countries (LMICs). Through this funding opportunity, the NCI seeks to stimulate cancer research pilot programs in order to expand the reach of Cancer Centers in international settings.
These pilots may include research projects, trainings, advanced technologies, development of clinical trial networks, and other focus areas that will help develop cancer research capacity in LMICs. The research proposal should address questions that stem from cancer prevention practice and/or clinical observations in LMICs.
Deadline: June 14
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.
Dr. Paula Silverman Recognized for Clinical Trial Enrollment
Dr. Paula Silverman, Clinical Director of the Seidman Cancer Center Breast Cancer Disease Team, received a letter of congratulations from the NCI Cancer Trials Support Unit (CTSU) for her support of clinical trials available through the CTSU to all members of the National Cooperative Group Clinical Trials Network. Dr. Silverman was among the top enrollers to CTSU studies in 2012. These included large-scale adjuvant trials led by the National Cancer Institute of Canada, and the NCI-sponsored Southwest Oncology Group. Support of the publicly-funded clinical trials system is critical to establishing new standards of cancer care. In addition to conducting smaller early phase investigator-initiated trials, the Case CCC also prioritizes these larger multicenter cooperative group efforts which hope to establish new effective treatments for common as well as rare cancers. Kudos to Dr. Silverman and the entire breast cancer clinical trials team!
Dr. Lyndsay Harris Made New Member of NCI Study Section
Dr. Lyndsay Harris was recently appointed as a standing member of the NCI Developmental Therapeutics study section. The major emphasis of this study section is on the rational development of novel therapeutic strategies that have a significant potential for early translation to the clinic.