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National Cancer Institute

Trump Names Dr. Norman Sharpless to Serve as Director of National Cancer Institute

Dr. Norman “Ned” Sharpless

Washington, DC, June 19, 2017Science reports that President Donald Trump on June 9 announced his intention to appoint Norman “Ned” Sharpless, M.D., to be the next director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Bethesda, Maryland.

Dr. Sharpless would succeed Harold Varmus as the head of NCI.

Sharpless, 50, is a physician and currently director of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.  He also holds an academic appointment at the university’s school of medicine. Continue reading

Congress Boosts Research Funding in Cancer, Alzheimer’s, Precision Medicine, BRAIN Initiative and ‘Superbugs’

Washington, DC, May 2, 2017 — Ariana Eunjung Cha reports in The Washington Post that Congress unveiled a bipartisan budget late Sunday that contains a number of welcome surprises for researchers who had been panicking since March, when President Trump proposed deep funding cuts for science and health.

Under the deal, the National Institutes of Health will get a $2 billion boost in fiscal year 2017, as it did the previous year.

Trump had proposed cutting the NIH budget by about one-fifth, or $6 billion, in a draft 2018 budget.

Here are some of the big research winners: Continue reading

American Cancer Society and National Cancer Institute Publish Annual Report to the Nation: Cancer Death Rates Continue to Decline

Bethesda, MD, April 11, 2017 — Overall cancer death rates continue to decrease in men, women, and children for all major racial and ethnic groups, according to the latest Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, 1975 – 2014.

The Report to the Nation is released each year in a collaborative effort by the American Cancer Society; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), both parts of the Department of Health and Human Services; and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR).

The latest report, which was published on March 31, finds that death rates during the period 2010-2014 decreased for 11 of the 16 most common types of cancer in men and for 13 of the 18 most common types of cancer in women, including lung, colorectal, female breast, and prostate cancers. Continue reading

National Cancer Institute: Cancer Moonshot Moves Forward, Bringing Funding Opportunities for Researchers

Bethesda, MD, March 15, 2017Douglas R. Lowy, M.D., Acting Director, National Cancer Institute last month wrote:

The 21st Century Cures Act, which was signed into law in December 2016, authorizes $1.8 billion over 7 years to fund the Beau Biden Cancer Moonshot℠, $300 million of which is available in Fiscal Year 2017.

These funds enable NCI to begin, this fiscal year, implementing cancer research initiatives that align with the goals outlined in last fall’s report from the Cancer Moonshot Blue Ribbon Panel (BRP) and to rapidly build on progress that NCI and its many research partners have achieved over the years. Continue reading

New Director of Rutgers Cancer Institute of NJ Outlines 2017 Goals

Dr. Steven K. Libutti

Dr. Steven K. Libutti

New Brunswick, NJ, January 27, 2017 — Minna Kim reports that the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey (RCINJ) began the new year under the leadership of new Director Steven Libutti, who assumed the position on January 10.

One immediate responsibility that the new director will hold is ensuring that RCINJ is renewed as one of the 47 designated Comprehensive Care Centers of the National Cancer Institute (NCI).  This will be determined one year from now, Libutti said.

“Competitive grants are awarded to cancer centers that exceed certain criteria, that and expectations that the National Cancer Institute sets,” he said.  “Every five to seven years, we have to re-compete for the designation and grant.” Continue reading

National Cancer Institute and Drug Companies Aim to Speed Up Clinical Trials

nih-national-cancer-instituteBethesda, MD, January 13, 2017 — The National Cancer Institute (NCI) on January 11 launched a new drug formulary (the “NCI Formulary”) that will enable investigators at NCI-designated Cancer Centers to have quicker access to approved and investigational agents for use in preclinical studies and cancer clinical trials.

The NCI Formulary could ultimately translate into speeding the availability of more-effective treatment options to patients with cancer.

The NCI Formulary is a public-private partnership between NCI, part of the National Institutes of Health, and pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Continue reading

National Cancer Institute: Cellular Immunotherapy Targets a Common Human Cancer Mutation

Cancer Research blueBethesda, MD, January 2, 2017 — In a study of an immune therapy for colorectal cancer that involved a single patient, a team of researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) identified a method for targeting the cancer-causing protein produced by a mutant form of the KRAS gene.

This targeted immunotherapy led to cancer regression in the patient in the study. The finding appeared Dec. 8, 2016, in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study was led by Steven A. Rosenberg, M.D., Ph.D., chief of the Surgery Branch at NCI’s Center for Cancer Research, and was conducted at the NIH Clinical Center. Continue reading

Cancer Drug Target Visualized at Atomic Resolution; Study Using Cryo-Electron Microscopy Shows How Potential Drugs Could Inhibit Cancer

Bethesda, MD, February 2, 2016 ― A new study shows that it is possible to use an imaging technique called cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) to view, in atomic detail, the binding of a potential small molecule drug to a key protein in cancer cells.

The cryo-EM images also helped the researchers establish, at atomic resolution, the sequence of structural changes that normally occur in the protein, p97, an enzyme critical for protein regulation that is thought to be a novel anti-cancer target.

The study appeared online January 28, 2016, in Science. Sriram Subramaniam, Ph.D., of the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Center for Cancer Research, led the research. NCI is part of the National Institutes of Health. Continue reading