The Cancer Moonshot initiative began with $195 million in new cancer activities at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Fiscal Year 2016. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) received $300 million in FY 2017 for Cancer Moonshot through the 21st Century Cures Act. Congress has not agreed to a budget for FY 2018, so the government is now operating under a continuing resolution (CR) that Congress passed and the president signed on Sept. 8, 2017.
In passing the 21st Century Cures Act last year, Congress authorized a 10-year commitment of $4.8 billion for four key initiatives launched under the Obama administration. They are: The Precision Medicine Initiative, the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative, the “Beau Biden Cancer Moonshot,” and Regenerative Medicine.
In my last article I reviewed, the Blue Ribbon Panel (BRP) recommendations to advance cancer diagnosis, prevention, and treatment under the Cancer Moonshot Initiative. Those recommendations are a high-level view of how to accelerate new scientific discoveries into effective treatments and prevention for cancer. In November, the Lancet Oncology** released a report: The Lancet Oncology** Commission: Future Research Priorities in the USA — authored by over 50 leading oncologists which includes members of major US cancer organizations. This report sets out the priority areas, each with measurable goals, to focus the funding released to the National Cancer Institute as part of the 21st Century Cures Act. The report focusses on prevention, the areas identified by the BRP, and a detailed scientific roadmap to deliver on the BRP recommendations.
Included in this ground-breaking report is a detailed roadmap to deliver on the Blue Ribbon Panel recommendations. It includes a focus on prevention, a new model for drug discovery and development, a huge expansion of patient access to clinical trials, and an emphasis on targeted interventions to improve cancer care for underserved groups, specifically children, cancer survivors and minority groups. The report summary states: ” We are in the midst of a technological revolution that is providing new insights into human biology and cancer. In this era of big data, we are amassing large amounts of information that is transforming how we approach cancer treatment and prevention. Enactment of the Cancer Moonshot within the 21st Century Cures Act in the USA arrived at a propitious moment in the advancement of knowledge, providing nearly US$2 billion of funding for cancer research and precision medicine.”
On Nov 3, 2017 while former VP Joe Biden, and Chairman Chi of Elsevier*** accepted Humanitarian of the Year Awards from the United Nations Association of New York they both recognized the Lancet Oncology Commission for its key and exciting contributions to the Cancer Moonshot initiative.” “Every day, every minute matters to patients and we must bring that sense of urgency to our cancer research and care systems,” said Vice President Joe Biden.
Vice President Joe Biden was honored for “extraordinary commitment and tireless dedication to leading global health initiatives to improve cancer outcomes,” and Mr. Chi for his “extraordinary commitment and tireless dedication to improving global health and information analytics. “We are in the midst of a technological revolution that is providing new insights into human biology and cancer. In this era of big data, we are amassing large amounts of information that is transforming how we approach cancer treatment and prevention,” said Elsevier Chairman Chi.
My next article in this series will cover Partnership for Accelerating Cancer Therapies (PACT), an exciting public/private partnership that is working on many treatments, including immunotherapy.
**The Lancet Oncology was launched in September, 2000, and is now the world-leading clinical oncology periodical. The journal ranks third out of 213 oncology journals worldwide.