NCCN News

NCCN Foundation Appoints Three New Representatives to Board of Directors

The NCCN Foundation has appointed three new representatives to its Board of Directors: Heather Kopecky, PhD, MBA; Marc Samuels, JD, MPH; and Susan Stein, MPH. There are currently 15 members of the Board of Directors, responsible for the strategic direction for the NCCN Foundation, which obtains funding to publish the library of NCCN Guidelines for Patients and the NCCN Quick Guide Series, as well as research grants for young investigators at the NCCN Member Institutions.

“We are honored to welcome Dr. Kopecky, Mr. Samuels, and Ms. Stein to the NCCN Foundation Board of Directors,” said the Honorable Ellen O. Tauscher, Chair of the NCCN Foundation Board of Directors. “These newest members join an esteemed assembly of expert colleagues dedicated to serving people with cancer throughout the United States and the world. Dr. Kopecky, Mr. Samuels, and Ms. Stein indeed will contribute greatly to the leadership of the Foundation.”

Dr. Kopecky is a Senior Client Partner at Korn Ferry International where she serves as an industry expert in executive search and coaching, as well as a consultant for prominent academic medical centers, multi-hospital nonprofit health systems, higher education, and professional health care associations. Previously, Dr. Kopecky enjoyed a 20-year career in the Texas Medical Center having had appointments at Baylor College of Medicine, The University of Texas, and Texas Women's University. Dr. Kopecky is currently a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives, the Healthcare Financial Management Association, the American Organization of Nurse Executives, and the National Association of Corporate Directors. She also serves as a volunteer with the Red Cross Disaster Services Human Resources System. Dr. Kopecky received her Doctor of Philosophy degree in nursing from Texas Women's University and her Master of Business Administration degree from Rice University. She also holds Master and Bachelor of Science degrees in nursing from The University of Texas Health Sciences Center in Houston, Texas.

Mr. Samuels is the Chief Executive Officer of ADVI, an advisory services firm to the lifescience and health care services sectors with end-to-end strategic offerings and a focus on accelerating growth and increasing value. Previously, Mr. Samuels founded HillCo HEALTH and was a partner in HillCo Partners, which merged with Accelus Health Partners to form ADVI in 2013. He has represented the Texas Society of Clinical Oncology, as well as several oncology physician practices and NCCN Member Institutions in Texas and other states; he has co-written many pieces of legislation related to compendia, oral parity, accelerated coverage of biologics, and the Houston Biotechnology Park. Prior to his work at ADVI and HillCo, Mr. Samuels served both former President George Herbert Walker Bush and then-Texas Governor George W. Bush on health care issues in the White House Office of Policy Development and Texas Governor's Office respectively. Mr. Samuels is a graduate of The University of Texas School of Law, Yale School of Medicine, and the University of Michigan.

Ms. Stein is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Connexion Healthcare, a communications company focused on translating complex science into clear and concise scientific communication to educate health care providers, support clinical decision-making, and improve patient outcomes. Connexion Healthcare serves the world's leading biotech and pharmaceutical companies through its two Centers of Excellence – Oncology and Rare Disease. Ms. Stein began her career within the pharmaceutical industry, continuing to the agency side before founding Connexion Healthcare. Ms. Stein also formed Connexion Cares as a vehicle to support health care research and foster patient advocacy. She is a member of the Drexel School of Public Health Dean's Advisory Council, Member of the Global Genes Board of Directors, and Co-Chair for the Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation Lemon Ball. Ms. Stein holds a Master of Public Health degree from Drexel University and a Bachelor of Science degree from University of South Carolina.

The NCCN Foundation empowers people through knowledge and advances the mission of NCCN to improve the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of cancer care so that patients can live better lives. For more information about the NCCN Foundation, visit NCCNFoundation.org.

NCCN Collaborates with Bristol-Myers Squibb to Study PD-L1 Expression and Test Interpretation in Lung Cancer

New molecules and pathways with pivotal functions in regulating the immune system have been discovered recently, providing new understanding of how tumor cells avoid the immune system. One of these molecules, named programmed cell death (PD-1), and molecules that interact with PD-1 (PD-L1 and PD-L2), are found on many types of blood cells, tumor cell lines, and tumor tissues.14 Studies have shown that these molecules, also known as immune checkpoints, exert important inhibitory functions in chronic inflammation, autoimmune diseases and tumors.5 Currently, there is limited information on the prevalence and the prognostic role of PD-L1 expression in non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). In addition, with the advent of immuno-oncology research, the treatment landscape continues to evolve. As a result, there is a need for additional study of PD-L1 to determine the practical aspects of testing and provide important insights into the similarities and differences among the variety of tests used to determine PD-L1 expression.

To improve the scientific knowledge concerning PD-L1 protein expression and help pathologists understand the diagnostic nuances associated with lung cancer treatment, the NCCN Oncology Research Program (ORP) and Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) are collaborating on the NCCN/BMS Thoracic Pathology Protocol Development Team. This team will be responsible for a study designed to:

  • understand how different assays measure PD-L1 protein expression,

  • measure the concordance of pathologist interpretation of various test results, and

  • evaluate the heterogeneity of PD-L1 protein expression within tumor samples.

“There has been rapid innovation in the field of immuno-oncology and genomics, and NCCN is proud to collaborate with BMS at the forefront of research that has potential to provide advancement in the treatment of people with NSCLC, which is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States today,” said Robert C. Young, MD, Interim Vice President, ORP, NCCN.

The study protocol, designed by a team of thoracic pathologists from nine NCCN Member Institutions and BMS scientists, is titled, “A Multi-Institutional Analysis of Programmed Cell Death-Ligand 1 (PD-L1) Expression in Lung Cancer.” The NCCN experts will serve as investigators for the research, which is expected to begin this month.

“We are pleased to collaborate with NCCN on this new study, and appreciate the organization's interest in conducting important research on PD-L1 testing that may help inform real-world clinical practice,” said Laura Bessen, Vice President, Head of U.S. Medical, Bristol-Myers Squibb. “As a company at the forefront of innovative immunooncology research, we are committed to bringing together experts in the field who can help provide guidance on the future of PD-L1 testing including the different assays available, and pave the way toward continued clarity for the scientific community.”

The multi-institutional nonclinical study is co-chaired by Ignacio Wistuba, MD, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and David Rimm, MD, PhD, Yale Cancer Center/Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven. NCCN will oversee all phases of the study.

The NCCN ORP draws on the expertise of investigators at NCCN Member Institutions and the NCCN Affiliate Research Consortium (ARC) to facilitate all phases of research. This research is made possible by collaborations with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in order to advance therapeutic options for patients with cancer.

For more information about the NCCN ORP, visit NCCN.org/ORP.

NCCN Publishes Updated Patient Resource for Ovarian Cancer With Support From the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition

NCCN has published an updated and newly redesigned NCCN Guidelines for Patients: Ovarian Cancer. This publication is made possible, in part, through support from the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition.

The NCCN Guidelines for Patients: Ovarian Cancer has been updated from Version 1.2013 to Version 1.2015 to reflect the most recent updates in the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines) for Ovarian Cancer. This update includes many important changes and additions, such as addressing genetic counseling as part of initial testing for all patients. It also includes a number of new recommendations for primary chemotherapy, maintenance treatment, and recurrence treatment.

The weekly paclitaxel/carboplatin regimen is a new primary chemotherapy option for all stages. Pazopanib (Votrient) is a new option for maintenance treatment following a complete response to primary chemotherapy for stage II, III, or IV ovarian cancer. Additionally, olaparib (Lynparza), a recently approved PARP inhibitor, is now recommended as an option for recurrence treatment and is included as a “preferred” option for both platinum-sensitive and platinum-resistant disease. Three other combination regimens and one single agent have also been added as options for recurrence treatment. A full list of recent updates in the NCCN Guidelines for Patients: Ovarian Cancer, Version 1.2015, is available on NCCN.org/patients.

This patient resource was developed according to plain language principles to improve health literacy. The updated design and format feature patient-friendly elements such as medical illustrations alongside descriptions of body parts, tests, and treatments. It also includes an expansive glossary with definitions of medical terms and acronyms.

NCCN Guidelines for Patients provide the same current and accurate cancer information on health care options that clinicians access in the NCCN clinical guidelines. A digital version of the NCCN Guidelines for Patients: Ovarian Cancer is available to view and download free-of-charge on NCCN.org/patients.

NCCN currently offers NCCN Guidelines for Patients for the following: Breast Cancer: Stages 0-IV; Colon, Esophageal, Kidney, Non-Small Cell Lung, Ovarian, Pancreatic, and Prostate Cancers; Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia; Caring for Adolescents and Young Adults (AYA); Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia; Lung Cancer Screening; Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma; Melanoma; Multiple Myeloma; and Soft Tissue Sarcoma.

NCCN is committed to developing a comprehensive patient library with support from the NCCN Foundation.

References

  • 1.

    Keir ME, Butte MJ, Freeman GJ, Sharpe AH. PD-1 and its ligands in tolerance and immunity. Ann Rev Immunol 2008;26:677704.

  • 2.

    Brown JA, Dorfman DM, Ma FR et al.. Blockade of programmed death-1 ligands on dendritic cells enhances T cell activation and cytokine production. J Immunol 2003;170:12571266.

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 3.

    Wintterle S, Schreiner B, Mitsdoerffer M et al.. Expression of the B7-related molecule B7-H1 by glioma cells: a potential mechanism of immune paralysis. Cancer Res 2003;63:74627467.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 4.

    Liang SC, Latchman YE, Buhlmann JE et al.. Regulation of PD-1, PD-L1, and PD-L2 expression during normal and autoimmune responses. Eur J Immunol 2003;33:27062716.

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 5.

    Chen J, Wang XM, Wu XJ et al.. Intrahepatic levels of PD-1/PD-L correlate with liver inflammation in chronic hepatitis B. Inflamm Res 2011;60:4753.

  • Collapse
  • Expand
  • 1.

    Keir ME, Butte MJ, Freeman GJ, Sharpe AH. PD-1 and its ligands in tolerance and immunity. Ann Rev Immunol 2008;26:677704.

  • 2.

    Brown JA, Dorfman DM, Ma FR et al.. Blockade of programmed death-1 ligands on dendritic cells enhances T cell activation and cytokine production. J Immunol 2003;170:12571266.

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 3.

    Wintterle S, Schreiner B, Mitsdoerffer M et al.. Expression of the B7-related molecule B7-H1 by glioma cells: a potential mechanism of immune paralysis. Cancer Res 2003;63:74627467.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 4.

    Liang SC, Latchman YE, Buhlmann JE et al.. Regulation of PD-1, PD-L1, and PD-L2 expression during normal and autoimmune responses. Eur J Immunol 2003;33:27062716.

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 5.

    Chen J, Wang XM, Wu XJ et al.. Intrahepatic levels of PD-1/PD-L correlate with liver inflammation in chronic hepatitis B. Inflamm Res 2011;60:4753.

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