MAR 25, 2022 3:00 AM PDT

What is the Cancer Moonshot?

WRITTEN BY: Katie Kokolus

On January 12, 2016, in his final State of the Union address, President Barack Obama announced a “moonshot” to find a cure for cancer.  Obama tapped then-Vice President Joe Biden to lead this initiative.  The overarching goals of what has become known as the “Cancer Moonshot” were threefold:

  • Accelerate scientific discovery
  • Foster greater collaboration
  • Improve methods of data sharing

Biden released a statement the same night declaring that “The science is ready.” He noted several areas of research that had recently seen significant advances, including cancer immunotherapy and genomics. The statement also discussed limitations that slow progress, including the dissemination of science and data leading to the inclusion of only 5% of cancer patients enrolling in clinical trials.  

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) over $1 billion into the Moonshot to date, and these dollars have supported close to 300 research projects. This funding has promoted the formation of several research groups working to enhance and develop new immunotherapy approaches for adult and childhood cancers. One such group, the Immuno-Oncology Translational Network (IOTN), has made progress in immunotherapeutic approaches in ovarian and head and neck cancer. The Pediatric Immunotherapy Discovery and Development Network (PI-DDN) focuses its effort on developing effective immunotherapies for children with cancer. Recent work from this group highlighted immunotherapy drugs (blinatumomab and inotuzumab) for children with recurrent B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.  

While the goals of Moonshot appear almost universally agreeable, it did draw criticism, particularly regarding the limited financial investment relative to the Federal budget.  

On February 2, 2022, now President Joe Biden reignited the program as Moonshot 2.0 to “end cancer as we know it today.” An ambitious goal of the program includes reducing cancer-related mortality by 50% in the next 25 years. Further, Biden wants to enhance cancer patients' experiences by improving the quality of life in cancer survivors. While the details of Moonshot 2.0, including the budget, are still materializing, Biden has called for a “Cancer Cabinet” which will bring together members of various Federal agencies for an all-government approach.  

While it is still too soon to determine how these programs will impact the broad cancer research area, the focus on finding cures for cancer offers hope to patients and their families. 

 

Sources: Cancer Cell, Oncotarget, Cancer Res, Ped Blood Cancer, Cancer Letters

About the Author
PhD
PhD in Tumor Immunology. I am interested in developing novel strategies to improve the efficacy of immunotherapies used to extend cancer survivorship.
You May Also Like
MAR 29, 2022
Clinical & Molecular DX
The Role of Flow Cytometry in Diagnosis of Myelodysplastic Syndromes
MAR 29, 2022
The Role of Flow Cytometry in Diagnosis of Myelodysplastic Syndromes
Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) describe cancers resulting from abnormal cells in the bone marrow. The abnormal bone mar ...
MAR 21, 2022
Cancer
New Combination Therapy Effective in Hormone Sensitive Prostate Cancer
MAR 21, 2022
New Combination Therapy Effective in Hormone Sensitive Prostate Cancer
Like all cancers, prostate cancer has many classifications and subtypes. One such type is metastatic, hormone-sensitive ...
JUN 27, 2022
Cancer
A Genomic Scan Detects Cancer-Driving Mutations
JUN 27, 2022
A Genomic Scan Detects Cancer-Driving Mutations
Cancer develops when the DNA in our cells becomes altered, resulting in a gene mutation.  DNA alterations can occur ...
JUL 28, 2022
Cancer
Potential Marker for Prostate Cancer Prognosis Identified
JUL 28, 2022
Potential Marker for Prostate Cancer Prognosis Identified
Cytokines, proteins that affect the immune system, can elicit their effects in either a beneficial or an inhibitory capa ...
AUG 01, 2022
Cancer
Cannabis Helps Cancer Patients Combat Nausea and Vomiting
AUG 01, 2022
Cannabis Helps Cancer Patients Combat Nausea and Vomiting
A growing number of states have legalized marijuana for medical and/or recreational purposes.  Cannabis is a plant ...
AUG 11, 2022
Cancer
Exposure to "Forever Chemical" Linked to Liver Cancer
AUG 11, 2022
Exposure to "Forever Chemical" Linked to Liver Cancer
In 1938, Dr. Roy Plunkett made an accidental discovery!  He observed tetrafluoroethylene spontaneously polymerize i ...
Loading Comments...