About AACI CancerBlog

The Association of American Cancer Institutes (AACI) includes 98 leading academic and free-standing cancer research centers and promotes their efforts to eradicate cancer.

AACI to Recognize Pioneers in Research, Philanthropy at Annual Meeting This Fall

On Monday, October 1, AACI will present two awards highlighting the importance of scientific discovery and philanthropic support in the cancer community.

Charles M. Perou, PhDCharles M. Perou, PhD, will receive AACI’s Distinguished Scientist Award in recognition of his accomplishments in the field of precision medicine and his groundbreaking research in characterizing the diversity of human tumors, which has profoundly impacted the treatment of patients with breast cancer.

The May Goldman Shaw Distinguished Professor of Molecular Oncology at UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, Dr. Perou is also the faculty director of UNC Lineberger’s Bioinformatics Group, co-director of its Breast Cancer Research Program, and a professor in its Genetics and Pathology & Laboratory Medicine departments.

Richard and Susan Rogel will be presented with the inaugural Champion for Cures Award in honor of their transformational philanthropy in support of cancer research and care.Richard and Susan Rogel

AACI established the Champion for Cures Award to recognize individuals who demonstrate significant leadership in supporting efforts to cure cancer. Earlier this year, the Rogels pledged $150 million to the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, which was renamed Rogel Cancer Center.

Their gift—the largest in the University of Michigan’s history—will fund endowed professorships, competitive research grants, and scholarships, and will help the cancer center establish a collaborative network that will bring international experts to campus for 6 to 12 months to develop innovative new projects.

“Donors are an integral part of the ecosystem of cancer care,” said AACI President Stanton L. Gerson, MD, director of Case Comprehensive Cancer Center. “AACI wanted to honor a family like the Rogels, who’ve demonstrated their commitment to the success of the cancer center through their investment in research.”

The award presentations are a highlight of the AACI/CCAF Annual Meeting, scheduled September 30 – October 2 in Chicago. The event convenes AACI cancer center directors and executive-level administrators with leaders of national cancer research and advocacy groups, industry, and government health agencies to develop solutions to common challenges and to share best practices.

Register for the AACI/CCAF Annual Meeting.
View the meeting program.

Advertisements

Know an HPV Vaccination Champion in Your Community?

Nominate Them Today!

hpv-champion-ad-200x300AACI has partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD) and the American Cancer Society (ACS) to recognize leaders in health care who are going above and beyond to promote or foster HPV vaccination among adolescents in their communities.

NCIRD’s HPV Vaccine Is Cancer Prevention campaign works to improve clinician quality of HPV vaccination recommendations for 11- and 12-year-olds and to increase parent acceptance of the HPV vaccine for their children.

To nominate a physician for the Champion Award, please submit a completed form by this Friday, August 10. Self-nominations are welcome.

Nominations should be submitted to the immunization programs of the state or territory in which the nominee resides. Submissions should include a completed nomination form and an image of the nominee, which may be used for promotional purposes if the nominee is selected as a Champion.

Submissions must be sent to PreteenVaccines@cdc.gov. CDC will review and confirm the recommendations and issue the awards.

Learn more about the HPV vaccine and how it can protect 11- and 12-year-olds from six different types of cancer later in life.

 

Member Spotlight: August 2018

Louisiana Cancer Research Consortium of New Orleans at the Stanley S. Scott Cancer Center and Tulane Cancer Center 

Louisiana Cancer Research Consortium

Founded in 2002 under the direction of the Louisiana State Legislature, the Louisiana Cancer Research Center’s mission is to promote education and conduct research in the diagnosis, detection, and treatment of cancer, while pursuing a National Cancer Institute designation.

The center includes more than 200 researchers representing inter- and intradisciplinary activity across the member institutions. Its strengths include molecular genetics and signaling; proteomics; immunology, infection, and inflammation; viral oncology; drug discovery; and minority health and health disparities.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center

Norris Cotton Cancer Center

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center, in Lebanon, New Hampshire, is one of only 49 NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the country. About 250 active research projects are part of the center’s quest to cure cancer, understand its causes, and promote ways to prevent cancer before it starts.

These projects are led by 135 cancer research scientists supported by more than $68 million in grants each year from federal and other sources.

Mays Cancer Center at UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center 

Mays Cancer Center

Thanks to a $30 million legacy gift from the Mays Family Foundation and a partnership with the MD Anderson Cancer Center, the newly-renamed Mays Cancer Center at UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson now brings the people of San Antonio the combined strengths of UT Health San Antonio and MD Anderson’s expertise in multidisciplinary, research-driven, patient-centered care.

Mays is one of four NCI-Designated Cancer Centers in Texas.

Monthly Links Roundup: July 2018

This month, we announced that Richard and Susan Rogel would receive AACI’s inaugural Champions for Cures Award, which recognizes individuals who lead and support efforts to cure cancer and inspire others to do the same.

The award will be presented to the Rogels in recognition of their $150 million gift to the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, which was renamed Rogel Cancer Center in their honor.

During the most popular vacation time of the year, we shared sun safety tips for UV Safety Month.

We brought attention to sarcoma—often described as “the forgotten cancer”—for Sarcoma Awareness Month.

AACI’s 10th Annual CRI Meeting was held July 11-12.

Dr. Cheryl L. Willman, CEO and director of University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center, encouraged AACI members to continue advocating for the Congressionally-mandated 340B drug pricing program, which is currently at risk due to a CMS rule introduced in January 2018.

Coming up in August:

  • World Lung Cancer Day
  • National Breastfeeding Month
  • National Immunization Awareness Month
  • Summer Sun Safety Month 

 

PCLI Webinar Recap: Treatment Pathways

pcliwebinarCancer is not a “one-size-fits-all” disease. Every cancer patient has a unique experience, shaped by factors from the specific form of cancer they’re fighting to the stage of the disease.

Through the Pathways tool, experts at Harvard Medical School’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute are creating an electronic “roadmap” of the best treatments for every cancer, at every stage.

On Thursday, July 19, AACI’s Physician Clinical Leadership Initiative (PCLI) hosted a webinar titled “Treatment Pathways” with Craig A. Bunnell, MD, MPH, MBA, chief medical officer at Dana-Farber, and David Jackman, MD, senior physician in the institute’s thoracic oncology program.

“Clinical Pathways have become an integral part of the way we practice at the Dana-Farber,” said Dr. Bunnell, who is also a member of the PCLI steering committee.

Bunnell said it’s critically important that care is cutting-edge and evidence-based, whether it’s provided at a cancer center’s main campus or at its satellites or affiliates, and regardless of the physician a patient sees on a particular day.

According to Dr. Jackman, who spearheaded the tool at Dana-Farber, Pathways “is a means to bridge complementary efforts” across sites, ensuring standardized care and optimizing resources.

Physicians rely on Pathways to guide the development of customized treatment plans that match patients with the therapies best-suited to their needs. The platform provides real-time decision-making support across a continuum of cancer care and is available to every provider in the Dana-Farber network.

Drug availability, clinical trial relevance, medication interactions, and co-morbid conditions are among the data physicians can analyze to forge a unique path for each patient.

Though no single technology can ever be granular enough to encompass every possible treatment for every patient, Pathways has been established as an effective, innovative platform at cancer centers across the country.

Jackman said the goal at Dana-Farber is to get 70 to 85 percent of physicians on the system. Once doctors make a regular habit of utilizing Pathways, he said, its value to their day-to-day practice becomes clear.

“Art isn’t art till it hits canvas,” said Jackman. “Before that it’s just vision.”

A recording of the webinar can be found here.

Pictured (top to bottom): Dana-Farber’s Dr. Craig A. Bunnell and Dr. David Jackman.

 

CMS Reimbursement Cuts to Cancer Centers Threaten Access to Lifesaving Cancer Treatments for Underserved Patients

Willman

Cheryl L. Willman, MD

On January 1, 2018, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) implemented a new rule that significantly reduces reimbursement to hospitals and the vast majority of cancer centers that participate in the Congressionally-mandated 340B Drug Purchasing Program. The new CMS rule (82 FR 52356) went into effect without Congressional approval and despite strong bipartisan objections from legislators in both chambers of Congress, the Association of American Cancer Institutes (AACI), and a large majority of cancer center directors from NCI-designated and emerging academic cancer centers. The rule disproportionately harms those hospitals and cancer centers that provide care for the most vulnerable and underserved cancer patients, compounding the nation’s tremendous cancer health disparities.

Established by Congress in 1992 with strong bipartisan support, the 340B Drug Pricing Program requires drug manufacturers to sell drugs at discounted prices to hospitals and cancer centers that provide a disproportionate share of care to low-income, rural, poor, and underserved patients, to have their drugs covered by Medicare and Medicaid. The Congressional intent of the 340B Drug Pricing program is to allow hospitals and cancer centers to reinvest their savings from these drug discounts to assure patient access to high-quality care and lifesaving cancer treatments, and to develop comprehensive services.

The new CMS rule drastically reduces Medicare Part B reimbursement rates for drug  purchases to hospitals and cancer centers participating in the 340B Drug Pricing Program. Under the new rule, CMS reimbursement for drug purchases has decreased from the prior rate of Average Sale Price (ASP) plus 6 percent, to ASP minus 22.5 percent, resulting in a cut of $1.6 billion per year to the nation’s public safety-net hospitals and cancer centers. This cut fully eliminates the benefit of the 340B drug pricing program to participating cancer centers. Despite claims by CMS and the drug industry, the new rule does not lower drug prices, save money for Medicare or for seniors, or reduce patient co-pays. In fact, the cost of lifesaving cancer drugs is predicted to increase significantly.


Read more from Dr. Willman, CEO and director of the University of New Mexico’s Comprehensive Cancer Center, in AACI’s July 2018 Commentary