Yesterday, Vice President Joe Biden announced progress and commitments for the Cancer Moonshot (which had been announced as a priority by President Obama in the 2016 State of the Union address). There’s a lot to be excited about, and a lot of hard work to be done.
The initiative is spurring unprecedented collaboration: between public and private sectors, between government agencies, between research disciplines. They’re connecting longtime researchers with new, with resources and researchers worldwide, with private companies, with government agencies. It involves the Department of Defense, the Institutes of Health, oncologists, virologists, geneticists, techies and web diseigners, even drivers.
Among those involved, there are the usual suspects: the National Cancer Institute, American Cancer Society and other cancer non-profits, hospitals and research universities. There are also commitments from private sector companies. Bristol-Meyer Squibb is committing to a large initiative to alleviate inequalities in cancer detection and care. Lyft and Uber have both committed to expanding their efforts to provide transportation for cancer patients. And government agencies are involved: the Department of Defense is working to digitize its vast repository of pathology samples, making the information contained in them easily available to researchers. And the National Endowment for the Arts is developing a pilot program for using therapeutic arts programs to improve the lives of cancer patients, based on successful programs developed for military veterans.
Other highlights are a huge longitudinal study by the DoD to improve our understanding of biological underpinnings of cancer. They have around 250,000 samples saved from the past 25 years which can be analyzed for pre-diagnostic biological markers. And of particular interest to me as a breast cancer survivor, is a commitment from METAvivor for research grants into metastatic breast cancer.
These are just a few of the actions being taken. Please visit www.WhiteHouse.gov for a lot more information on what’s happening.
And finally, for this re-focus on research and collaboration, for making this a priority, thank you President Obama, and thank you Vice President Biden!