Feds advance cancer moonshot with expert panel, outline of goals




Federal officials took the next step in their moonshot to end cancer by announcing on April 4 a blue ribbon panel to guide the effort.

A total of 28 leading researchers, clinicians, and patient advocates have been named to the panel charged with informing the scientific direction and goals of the National Cancer Moonshot Initiative, led by Vice President Joe Biden.

Vice President Joe Biden

Vice President Joe Biden

“This Blue Ribbon Panel will ensure that, as [the National Institutes of Health] allocates new resources through the Moonshot, decisions will be grounded in the best science,” Vice President Biden said in a statement. “I look forward to working with this panel and many others involved with the Moonshot to make unprecedented improvements in prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer.”

The key goals of the initiative were set out simultaneously in a perspective from Dr. Francis S. Collins, NIH director, and Dr. Douglas R. Lowy, director of the National Cancer Institute. The editorial was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

“Fueled by an additional $680 million in the proposed fiscal year 2017 budget for the NIH, plus additional resources for the Food and Drug Administration, the initiative will aim to accelerate progress toward the next generation of interventions that we hope will substantially reduce cancer incidence and dramatically improve patient outcomes,” Dr. Collins and Dr. Lowy wrote. “The NIH’s most compelling opportunities for progress will be set forth by late summer 2016 in a research plan informed by the deliberations of a blue-ribbon panel of experts, which will provide scientific input to the National Cancer Advisory Board. Some possible opportunities include vaccine development, early-detection technology, single-cell genomic analysis, immunotherapy, a focus on pediatric cancer, and enhanced data sharing.”

To read the full editorial, click here.

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