Washington, D.C., Hosts Cancer, Tobacco Conferences
Avastin Trial Halted Early
Researchers have released preliminary results of a randomized, phase III clinical trial comparing bevacizumab (Avastin) in combination with gemcitabine with gemcitabine plus placebo for advanced pancreatic cancer. The clinical trial, sponsored by NCI under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with Genentech, Inc., was conducted by researchers led by the Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB). The independent Data and Safety Monitoring Board overseeing the trial (CALGB-80303) recommended release of the data based on an interim analysis indicating that it was very unlikely that significant differences in overall survival would be shown between the treatment arms with further follow-up.
CALGB and NCI's Cancer Trials Support Unit are informing physicians and their patients participating in the trial of the study results and the appropriate steps to take regarding further treatment.
This randomized trial, which included 602 patients, was testing these regimens as first-line therapy. In a news release, Genentech, Inc., noted that the study was not stopped due to safety events, and no new safety concerns related to bevacizumab were observed. CALGB is planning to present the study results at an upcoming medical meeting.
The International Union Against Cancer (UICC) Conference will take place July 8-12 in Washington, D.C. By combining its quadrennial International Cancer Congress with its triennial Conference for Global Cancer Control Organizations - in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 2006 Cancer Partners Summit - UICC brings together cancer scientists and researchers, governmental agencies, the medical community, and public health organizations in an effort to enhance the global fight against cancer. Additional information on the UICC is available at http://www.2006conferences.org/u-index.php.
Also in Washington, D.C., the 13th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health (WCTOH) will be held July 12-15. The conference will feature the latest research on the science of tobacco and its effects, and presenters will share new data on addiction, cessation, public policy, secondhand smoke, and smokeless tobacco. WCTOH will also give delegates an opportunity to examine the impact of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and discuss ways developing countries can use it to promote their tobacco control efforts and how it can reinforce tobacco control in developed countries. More information can be found online at http://www.2006conferences.org/t-index.php.
NCI International Portfolio Available
To coincide with the UICC and WCTOH conferences, NCI this week released its International Portfolio, Addressing the Global Challenge of Cancer. Printed copies will be distributed to meeting attendees at the NCI exhibit. The 76-page report highlights NCI's global efforts to lessen the burden of cancer, providing an overview and brief descriptions of NCI's international cancer control and research programs. The report also describes NCI's efforts to share scientific knowledge, build and support cancer research infrastructure in other countries, and improve the delivery of cancer information and care to people around the world.
NCI Employees Recognized by HHS
Several NCI employees received the HHS Secretary's Award for Distinguished Service at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on June 29. Five scientists who participated in initial research on the vaccine for human papillomavirus, the cause of a significant number of cases of cervical cancer, were recognized. The employees who made up the NCI Katrina Relief Team also received awards. Their contributions ranged from providing onsite pharmaceutical, medical, and surgical supplies and services; linking evacuated cancer patients and oncologists with oncologists in new locations; establishing communications resources for displaced cancer patients, families, and physicians; and working with researchers and clinicians in affected areas to assess research needs and, where possible, provide resources.
BSA Meeting Held
NCI's Board of Scientific Advisors (BSA) met June 29-30 on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Md. For more information, visit http://deainfo.nci.nih.gov/advisory/bsa.htm.