City of Hope in the News

COULD GENE THERAPY BE THE NEWEST CANCER TREATMENT? [FULL ARTICLE]
Southern California Public Radio
  • Stephen Forman, M.D., F.A.C.P., Francis and Kathleen McNamara Distinguished Chair in Hematology and Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation at City of Hope, was a guest on Southern California Public Radio’s “AirTalk” show and discussed new CAR-T therapies up for review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of blood cancers.
  • Forman provided background on what CAR-T therapy is and how it works. He also discussed the risks involved and the challenges doctors are facing when tailoring this treatment to solid tumors, such as the glioblastoma that Sen. John McCain was recently diagnosed with.
  • During the show, Forman mentioned City of Hope’s CAR-T cell clinical trial that evaluated the effects of injecting re-engineered cells directly into a glioblastoma patient’s brain.
  • Similar coverage appeared on KTLA 5 Los Angeles featuring neurosurgeon and scientist Rahul Jandial, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor, Division of Neurosurgery, Department of Surgery at City of Hope, and STAT News featuring Christine Brown, Ph.D., Heritage Provider Network Professor in Immunotherapy, associate director, T cell Therapeutics Research Laboratory at City of Hope.
 
NEW FORM OF THERAPY TREATS SEN. MCCAIN'S TYPE OF CANCER [FULL ARTICLE]
FOX & Friends
  • Lindsay Rosenwald, M.D., chairman and CEO of Fortress Biotech, and Manuel Lichtman, M.D., president of Fortress subsidiary Mustang Bio, were guests on FOX & Friends to discuss Sen. John McCain’s recent glioblastoma diagnosis and advancements that Stephen Forman, M.D., F.A.C.P., Francis & Kathleen McNamara Distinguished Chair in Hematology and Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation, Christine Brown, Ph.D., Heritage Provider Network Professor in Immunotherapy, associate director, T cell Therapeutics, and Behnam Badie, M.D., F.A.C.S., chief of neurosurgery, vice chair and professor, Department of Surgery at City of Hope, are making in the field.
  • Rosenwald mentioned City of Hope’s study using Mustang’s licensed CAR-T cell therapy, noting that researchers injected the treatment directly into the brain of a glioblastoma patient – the first time CAR-T has been used this way – and observed regression in the patient’s brain and spinal tumors.
  • Similar coverage appeared in Daily Mail, as well as coverage featuring Badie and Brown in Los Angeles Times, The Sacramento Bee, and The California Stem Cell Report.
 
NOVARTIS CAR-T CANCER THERAPY WINS EXPERT SUPPORT FOR FDA APPROVAL [FULL ARTICLE]
STAT News
  • A panel of experts convened by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) voted 10-0 on July 12 to recommend the approval of Novartis’ CAR-T therapy CTL019 for the treatment of children and young adults with advanced leukemia. The FDA is expected to make a final decision on approval by Oct. 3.
  • CTL019 is the first CAR-T therapy to come before the FDA, leading a group of novel treatments that promise to change the standard of care for some aggressive blood cancers.
  • The panel discussed the treatment’s associated risks, including potential for deadly viral infections and brain toxicity, but noted that none of the risks should hinder an FDA approval. “I don’t think any of these considerations would be show-stoppers for the outstanding clinical results that have been obtained to date,” said Larry Kwak, M.D., Ph.D., director, Toni Stephenson Lymphoma Center at City of Hope.
  • The FDA is also reviewing Kite Pharma’s CAR-T therapy for the treatment of adults with advanced or aggressive lymphoma. An approval decision for the Kite CAR-T therapy is expected on Nov. 29.
  • Similar coverage appeared in Medscape featuring comments by Elizabeth Budde, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Hematology and Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation at City of Hope, as well as in FierceBiotech and Nature Blogs.
 
SURGERY FOR EARLY-STAGE PROSTATE CANCER DOES NOT LEAD TO LONGER LIVES, STUDY FINDS [FULL ARTICLE]
Los Angeles Times
  • A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that men diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer who forgo immediate surgery have the same odds of living another decade or two as patients who have their tumors surgically removed.
  • Sumanta Pal, M.D., associate clinical professor, Department of Medical Oncology and Therapeutics Research, co-director, Kidney Cancer Program at City of Hope, who was featured for his comments on the study, said the results are in line with the way doctors currently treat prostate cancer.
  • Men with low-risk prostate cancer typically don’t die from the disease, so observation is usually sufficient.
  • Additional coverage appeared in The Baltimore Sun and Orlando Sentinel. Similar coverage appeared in HealthDay, U.S. News & World Report, Philly.com and UPI.com.
 
EXPERIMENTAL GENE-TARGETED DRUG HITS CANCER WHERE IT LIVES [FULL ARTICLE]
HealthDay
  • At the ASCO 2017 Annual Meeting, Sumanta Pal, M.D., associate clinical professor, Department of Medical Oncology and Therapeutics Research, co-director, Kidney Cancer Program at City of Hope, participated in press briefings to discuss key data presented at the meeting.
  • One study found that among 50 patients treated with the experimental drug larotrectinib, which targets TRK fusion, 76 percent saw their cancer regress – regardless of their age or cancer type.
  • Pal called the experimental drug a “game changer” and noted that if it is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, it would make sense to “test early” for TRK fusions in patients with rare cancers. However, with many common cancers, “we'd probably stick with standard care, and then [test] only if that fails,” he said.
  • Additional coverage appeared in U.S. News & World Report, Philly.com, Health, Drugs.com, and Doctors Lounge. Pal was quoted in more than 20 additional articles on several ASCO presentations, including Medscape, MedPage Today, ASCO Daily News, HemOnc Today and The ASCO Post.
     
‘HOW LONG HAVE I GOT?’: WHY MANY CANCER PATIENTS DON’T HAVE ANSWERS
[FULL ARTICLE]

USA Today
  • At a time when expensive new cancer treatments are proliferating rapidly, patients have more therapy choices than ever before. Yet patients are largely kept in the dark because their doctors either can’t or won’t communicate clearly.
  • The result: People with advanced cancer don’t know enough about their disease to make informed decisions about treatment or palliative care.
  • The American Society of Clinical Oncology now recommends that everyone with advanced cancer receive palliative care within eight weeks of diagnosis, per new guidelines developed by Betty Ferrell, Ph.D., R.N., director and professor, Division of Nursing Research and Education, Department of Population Sciences at City of Hope.
  • Yet, Ferrell says that palliative care professionals are in short supply.
  • Additional coverage appeared in The Arizona Republic, Courier-Journal, Detroit Free Press, Cincinnati Enquirer and NorthJersey.com.
     
CMA MUSIC FESTIVAL 2017: 26 BEST THINGS WE SAW [FULL ARTICLE]
Rolling Stone
'IT'S THE BIGGEST THING IN THE WORLD YOU DID FOR ME': MAN SAVES STRANGER'S LIFE WITH BONE MARROW DONATION [FULL ARTICLE]
NBC 4 Los Angeles
  • NBC 4 Los Angeles aired a broadcast segment for its “Life Connected” series on leukemia survivor Sergio Ramirez and his bone marrow donor Michael Palacios, who met for the first time at City of Hope’s 41st Annual Bone Marrow Transplant Reunion.
  • In 2013, Ramirez – a father of three boys -- received the news that his leukemia had returned and he only had a 15 percent chance of survival. Ramirez soon became involved in an immunotherapy clinical trial and received a bone marrow transplant at City of Hope.
  • Ramirez is now in remission and recently celebrated his 36th birthday thanks to Palacios’ bone marrow donation.
  • “You call it a small thing, but for me it's the biggest thing in the world you did for me,” Ramirez told Palacios.
 
CONNECTING EXPERTS TO FIGHT CANCER MORE EFFECTIVELY [PRINT EDITION]
USA Today
  • Sumanta Pal, M.D., assistant clinical professor, Department of Medical Oncology and Therapeutics Research, co-director, Kidney Cancer Program at City of Hope, was featured in a print article for his efforts in the fight against cancer.
  • Pal has made it his mission to bring together multiple departments to find new treatments for incurable diseases, promoting collaborations between science researchers at Beckman Research Institute and urologists at City of Hope.
  • “I think one of the keys to success, in terms of oncology and academic centers, is that doctors want access to the best clinical trials and we want to integrate scientists and get them involved with the process,” explains Pal.
  • Pal also shared his excitement about the cancer drugs two colleagues, Jeremy Jones, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Cancer Biology, and Marcin Kortylewski, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Immuno-Oncology, are working on.
  • Additional coverage appeared in Future of Personal Health.
     

CURING TYPE 1 DIABETES [FULL ARTICLE]
FOX 11 Los Angeles
  • Bart Roep, Ph.D., founding chair of the Department of Diabetes Immunology and director of The Wanek Family Project for Type 1 Diabetes at City of Hope, and patient Beth Jenkins, M.D., were featured on a segment of Good Day Los Angeles discussing type 1 diabetes.
  • During the segment, Roep discussed City of Hope’s goal to cure type 1 diabetes in six years and how researchers are using donations by the Wanek family and others to design highly effective treatments. Jenkins discussed her experiences as a type 1 diabetes patient and how treatment with an islet cell transplant at City of Hope has allowed her to be insulin free for seven years.
  • “It’s unbelievable that hundreds of millions of people with type 1 diabetes are treated with the first biotech product that was made in the world, and that was at City of Hope,” Roep said about City of Hope’s role in developing synthetic human insulin.
     

IMAGINING THE FUTURE [FULL ARTICLE]
Pasadena Magazine
  • Arthur Riggs, Ph.D., Samuel Rahbar chair in Diabetes and Drug Discovery, director, Diabetes and Metabolism Research Institute, director emeritus, Beckman Research Institute at City of Hope, was featured in a print and online article of Pasadena Magazine.
  • The article highlights Riggs’ previous work which led to the development of synthetic human insulin and his continued groundbreaking research on metabolism as the connection between cancer and diabetes.
  • Steven Rosen, M.D., provost and chief scientific officer at City of Hope, said, “[Riggs] is a giant in cancer research whose pioneering investigations have provided meaningful advances that benefit all of humanity.”
  • Riggs said, “It’s not enough to have the idea, you have to be in a position to prove feasibility, and that means you have to have the right setting. For me, City of Hope was always the right setting.”
     

SYMPOSIUM DISCUSSES LATEST AND FUTURE OF STEM CELL THERAPY [FULL ARTICLE]
Los Angeles Daily News
  • Dozens of doctors, scientists, businesses and others gathered at City of Hope on March 23 for the Second Annual California Institute for Regenerative Medicine Alpha Stem Cell Clinics Symposium. At the symposium, clinicians shared their most recent advancements in stem cell therapy clinical trials and attendees heard directly from patients who benefited from some of those trials.
  • “We want to review the trials, but we also want to see what other questions we should be asking,” said John Zaia, M.D., the Aaron Miller and Edith Miller chair in Gene Therapy, director of the Center for Gene Therapy and principal investigator of City of Hope’s Alpha Stem Cell Clinic. Zaia said that hearing from patients provides an opportunity to think of aspects of stem cell treatment beyond clinical trials.
  • Behnam Badie, M.D., F.A.C.S., chief of neurosurgery and director of the Brain Tumor Program, and Christine Brown, Ph.D., Heritage Provider Network professor in Immunotherapy and associate director of the T Cell Therapeutics Research Laboratory at City of Hope, presented the results of their New England Journal of Medicine case study on CAR-T cell therapy for multilocal glioblastoma.
  • Additional coverage appeared in Pasadena Star News, Whittier Daily News, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Capitol Weekly, California Stem Cell Report, California Stem Cell Report, The Stem Cellar.
 
THE BIGGEST ISSUES FOR THE FUTURE OF HEALTHCARE IN AMERICA AND WHAT WE CAN LEARN FROM THEM, PART I [FULL ARTICLE]
Forbes
  • Robert W. Stone, president and chief executive officer of City of Hope, was one of four health care executives featured in a two-part series on major issues facing the future of health care.
  • The first article covered current standards of care and ways to improve patient satisfaction, quality of care and patient-centered care.
  • The second article – Part 2 – focused on the complexities around creating patient-centric models, the need to communicate with all demographics, and the impact big data and technology will have on health care.
  • “At the end of the day, organizations like City of Hope are here to help patients and families in need,” said Stone. “We do that through our research and we do that through our patient care.”
 
PALLIATIVE CARE SHOULD BE STANDARD IN CANCER TREATMENT: GUIDELINE [FULL ARTICLE]
Reuters Health
  • Betty R. Ferrell, Ph.D., R.N., director and professor, Division of Nursing Research and Education, Department of Population Sciences at City of Hope, and colleagues updated the 2012 American Society of Clinical Oncology provisional clinical opinion on the integration of palliative care into standard oncology care.
  • The new guideline, which was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, notes that patients with advanced cancer should receive palliative care services early in the treatment cycle.
  • “Most hospitals and most cancer centers have palliative care, but most patients only get to palliative care in the last weeks and months of life. Patients really need to get these services early in the disease course, while still getting chemotherapy and other disease focused treatments,” said Ferrell.
  • Additional coverage appeared in 24 articles including FOX News, U.S. News & World Report, Yahoo! News and Yahoo! Noticias en Español.
 
“WHY I CARE” COLUMN FEATURING MAYIM BIALIK
People Magazine (Print Edition)
  • National coverage of the Hope Experiment in the November 7th print issue of People Magazine.
  • The article features Mayim Bialik discussing her partnership with City of Hope to launch the Hope Experiment pop-up event in Los Angeles. The Hope Experiment booth featured demos to stimulate an interest in science, technology, education and math (S.T.E.M) in young people, which Bialik – a mother of two young sons – is passionate about.
  • “Unfortunately, we all know someone in our lives who has been affected by cancer, so to know that there’s a place that’s doing amazing clinical trial work falls in line with my desire to educate young people about that in particular,” said Bialik.
  • The article also encourages readers to visit cityofhope.org/hope-experiment for more information.
 
BIG MEDICAL ADVANCES SEEN 25 YEARS AFTER MAGIC JOHNSON'S HIV DIAGNOSIS [FULL ARTICLE]
ABC 7 Los Angeles
  • Alexandra Levine, M.D., former chief medical officer at City of Hope, was featured in a broadcast segment on the 25th anniversary of the day Magic Johnson announced he had HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
  • “At that time, it was considered to be almost a universally-fatal disease,” said Levine.
  • However, today the average lifespan of someone who is HIV positive is almost the same as someone not infected.
  • During the segment, Levine discussed how far AIDS research and treatment has come since Johnson’s 1991 press conference and what City of Hope is doing today to investigate the potential role of stem cells in HIV treatment.
  • “We're trying to cure that infection by manipulating the stem cells in such a way that they will be resistant to HIV if they see that virus,” said Levine.
  • Additional coverage appeared in ReachMD.
 
CELLS DRIPPED INTO THE BRAIN HELP MAN FIGHT A DEADLY CANCER [FULL ARTICLE]
Associated Press
  • On Dec. 29, the New England Journal of Medicine published a case study led by Behnam Badie, M.D., chief, Division of Neurosurgery at City of Hope, Christine Brown, Ph.D., associate director of the T Cell Therapeutics Research Laboratory at City of Hope, and Stephen J. Forman, M.D., leader of the Hematologic Malignancies and Stem Cell Transplantation Institute at City of Hope. The study found that an immunotherapy treatment with experimental CAR-T cells resulted in a “remarkable response” when injected directly into the brain of a man with glioblastoma.
  • Richard Grady, a 50-year-old man from Seattle, Washington, saw his tumors shrink and after ten months of treatment, completely vanish.
  • Grady's response opens the door to wider testing. “For him to live more than a year and half after starting treatment is amazing for a situation where survival often is measured in weeks,” Badie said.
  • The Associated Press article was picked up by more than 300 outlets, including ABC News, FOX News, CBS News, Boston Globe and Seattle Times.
  • Similar coverage appeared in TIME, STAT News, Philadelphia Inquirer, ASCO Post, Medscape, HealthDay
 
TWO U.S. NEUROSURGEONS PERFORM BRAIN SURGERIES ON CHILDREN IN PERU [FULL ARTICLE]
ABC News Nightline
  • A national broadcast segment featuring neurosurgeon and scientist Rahul Jandial, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor, Division of Neurosurgery, Department of Surgery at City of Hope, and his foundation, the International Neurosurgical Children’s Association (INCA), which builds and renovates children’s brain surgery programs in developing countries using tools donated by City of Hope.
  • The 10-minute feature story, which included footage from City of Hope, featured Jandial and colleagues performing life-saving brain surgeries on children from underprivileged homes in Lima, Peru.
  • “This is very generous of them [City of Hope] even though it’s stuff that we may throw away or we think is no longer useful,” said Jandial. “For them [in Peru], it’s gold.”
  • ABC News also posted an online feature article about Jandial’s work, which accompanied the broadcast segment.
  • Additional coverage appeared in ABC News, WJBDRadio, WBT Radio, KNEB Radio and WBAL Radio.
 
TGEN TO BECOME SUBSIDIARY OF CITY OF HOPE, HEADQUARTERS WILL REMAIN IN PHOENIX [FULL ARTICLE]
Phoenix Business Journal
  • On Nov. 30, City of Hope announced the formation of an alliance with the Phoenix-based biosciences company Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) to make precision medicine a reality for patients.
  • As part of the alliance, City of Hope and TGen will establish the Personalized Hope program, which will focus on leveraging their respective strengths in immunotherapy and genomics to rapidly gain new insights into immune function and expand opportunities for the design of new immune interventions.
  • Additional coverage appeared in Associated Press, Cancer Letter, AZ Central, Genome Web, ASCO Post, Health IT Analytics and Home Furnishings Business.
 
EXPERIMENTAL BREAST-CANCER DRUG GIVES SACRAMENTO WOMAN NEW HOPE [FULL ARTICLE]
CBS 2 Los Angeles
  • A broadcast about Susan Young – a 69-year-old Sacramento woman who was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer and received an experimental new treatment at City of Hope.
  • Young has had a remarkable response to the experimental treatment, which combines the p53 cancer vaccine and a checkpoint inhibitor drug.
  • Don Diamond, Ph.D., chair and professor, Department of Experimental Therapeutics at City of Hope, the researcher who developed the vaccine, said p53 combined with the immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab activated Young’s immune system, causing it to attack her cancer. “However, it’s too soon to tell if it’s added months or years to her life.”
  • The segment also featured Young’s doctor Yuan Yuan, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Medical Oncology and Therapeutics Research at City of Hope.
  • CBS 2 Los Angeles also posted an online article about Susan Young and her doctors, which accompanied the broadcast segment.
  • Additional coverage appeared on CBS 5 San Francisco, CBS 13 Sacramento, KPIX 5 San Francisco, KCAL 9 Los Angeles, KOLN Lincoln, Nebraska, News-Medical.net, KABC 7 Los Angeles and Univision