• The NCI issued its “Annual Plan and Budget Proposal for Fiscal Year 2016,” which calls for $5.75 billion in funding. Although it is an increase over its current $4.92 billion budget, the amount is $1 billion below what it would have been if budgets had kept pace with inflation over the past decade. The plan is available at www.cancer.gov/aboutnci/budget_planning_leg/plan-2016.

  • Nearly half a million cancer cases a year worldwide can be attributed to overweight and obesity, according to a study by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. It estimates that these risk factors were responsible for about 3.6% of all new cancer cases in 2012 (Lancet Oncol 2014 November 25 [Epub ahead of print]).

  • The NIH issued a draft policy to promote the use of single institutional review boards (IRB) in multisite clinical research studies. Exceptions to the policy would be allowed under certain circumstances. For more information, log on to http://osp.od.nih.gov/office-clinical-research-and-bioethics-policy/clinical-research-policy/models-irb-review.

  • To help ensure transparency around NIH-supported research, the agency proposed expanding the scope of clinical trials required to submit summary results to include trials of unapproved, unlicensed, and uncleared products. A summary of the proposed changes is available at www.nih.gov/news/health/nov2014/od-19_summary.htm.

  • Pfizer and Merck KGaA signed a deal worth up to $2.85 billion to collaborate on developing and marketing cancer immunotherapies. Merck KGaA will receive $850 million upfront and up to $2 billion in milestone payments for the anti–PD-L1 therapy MSB0010718C and any other immuno-oncology drugs it adds to its pipeline.

  • The FDA approved bevacizumab (Avastin) in combination with chemotherapy for platinum-resistant ovarian, fallopian tube, and primary peritoneal cancers, Genentech announced. The approval was based a phase III study that showed bevacizumab plus chemotherapy reduced the risk of disease progression or death by 62% compared with chemotherapy alone.

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