• The NIH extramural budget will drop by 11.1% ($2.8 billion) in January 2013 if the Budget Control Act of 2011′s “sequestration” mechanism kicks in, suggested an analysis from the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. 

  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the antiangiogenesis agent pazopanib (Votrient; GlaxoSmith-Kline) for the treatment of patients with advanced soft tissue sarcoma. “The approval of pazopanib for this general class of tumors is the first in decades,” noted Dr. Richard Pazdur, director of the Office of Hematology and Oncology Products in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

  • Women have a 30% relative advantage over men in all aspects of the progression of localized melanoma, in an analysis of 2,672 patients (J Clin Oncol online ahead of print 2012 Apr 30).

  • As Congress studies reauthorization of the Pediatric Research Equity Act, the Alliance for Childhood Cancer has asked that the revised bill require pediatric oncology studies when a relevant target or pathway is explicitly included in the product label for a new adult oncology drug and is highly relevant to any pediatric cancer.

  • The European Patent Office has awarded Rosetta Genomics of Philadelphia, PA, a patent covering the use of the microRNA miR-34a in drugs for treating p53-negative cancers. The company says that miR-34a is a direct transcriptional target of p53 and that perturbation of miR-34a expression may contribute to tumorigenesis.

  • “Investigators with a PhD have a slightly lower [NIH] funding rate than those with medical degrees,” noted Sally Rockey, PhD, NIH's Deputy Director for Extramural Research. “To keep these data in context, remember that about 30% of principal investigators hold MDs or MD/PhDs.”

  • Turning data from cancer research into discoveries will require fundamental changes in the way researchers share data, access patient samples, and gather informed consent, remarked John Quackenbush, PhD, of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute at the Bio-IT World Conference and Expo 2012 in Boston in April. “The biggest barriers are not technical or intellectual; the biggest barriers are cultural,” said Quackenbush.

For more news on cancer research, visit Cancer Discovery online at http://CDnews.aacrjournals.org.