Phil & Co. has long supported the fight for cancer research and prevention in our work for the Lustgarten Foundation and the Melanoma Research Alliance. And this past June, our founder and CEO Cliff Sloan attended the Cancer Moonshot Summit in Washington DC. There, Vice President Biden laid out an unprecedented plan to unite and direct the resources of government, industry and research against one of the leading causes of death in the US.
As the year draws to a close, here’s our update on the Moonshot’s progress—and what you need to know to get involved in 2017.
WHAT THE MOONSHOT WILL DO
The Moonshot aims to map out a decade’s worth of research into cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment and compress it into five years. Led by a task force headed by the Vice President and accompanied by a blue ribbon panel of experts, the Moonshot proposes collaborative programs across government agencies, public/corporate partnerships and new steps to encourage private sector research and innovation while streamlining the development of new drugs and therapies.
Backed by bipartisan Congressional support, the $1.8 billion required to fund these ambitious plans was signed into law as part of the 21st Century Cures Act on December 13, in one of President Obama’s final legislative actions. The Moonshot’s progress to date, having gone from announcement to funding in less than a year, reflects a remarkable display of efficiency and consensus from a notoriously polarized legislature. It also underscores the Moonshot’s core principle, that of strong collaboration on a never-before-seen scale.
…AND HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED
As the vast majority of Americans have seen their lives affected by cancer to some degree, it’s important to see the Cancer Moonshot as the true collaborative effort it is. A cornerstone of the Task Force’s strategy is harnessing the power of big data, allowing a freer flow of research and clinical data throughout the entire cancer ecosystem. This means that everyone, from the White House to the Department of Energy all the way down to your local hospital, will be given new opportunities to share findings and resources to help stay informed and push forward collective progress.
If you’re ready to volunteer your time ASAP, learn how you #CanServe here. And if you’re a layperson, check out these resources that can help you become a more informed advocate.
- Science and medical publishing giant Elsevier is releasing a free benchmark report over several installments throughout the year, which are intended to cover the landscape of cancer research while keeping up to date on Moonshot progress and analyzing the relative efficacy of existing collaborations. The first part of the report, which charts out recent international trends in research, is already available here, and you can get notified about upcoming publications when they’re released by signing up here.
- In order to widen access to clinical trials for patients and oncologists, the new website trials.cancer.gov allows anyone to search for the closest trial relevant to their needs. The National Cancer Institute, in partnership with the White House, will introduce an API for this database, giving those within the cancer community the ability to access and tailor clinical trial information for communities on the local level via digital platforms and applications.
The most ambitious federal cancer program in decades, the Cancer Moonshot represents a seismic shift in how we as patients, researchers, medical professionals and cause advocates can work together to end cancer as we know it. If you have a personal and/or professional interest in the fight against cancer, then you’ll do well to stay abreast of the initiative in the news, on social media and in your community during the coming year.