A U.S. “Cancer Moonshot” to Accelerate Cancer Research

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Let’s Win Scientific Advisory Board member Elizabeth Jaffee, M.D., is co-author of a policy forum article in Science about recommendations for researchers while implementing the Cancer Moonshot.

Jaffee, Dinah S. Singer, Ph.D., and Tyler Jacks, Ph.D., co-chaired the Blue Ribbon Panel of cancer experts tasked with making recommendations to that National Cancer Advisory Board (NCAB), the adviser to the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Key thoughts include sharing data among scientists and developing more patient engagement.

“In January 2016 President Obama announced a “Cancer Moonshot” to “accelerate our understanding of cancer and its prevention, early detection, treatment, and cure”. A Blue Ribbon Panel (BRP) of scientific experts was convened to make recommendations to the National Cancer Advisory Board (NCAB), the adviser to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), on research opportunities uniquely poised for acceleration. These recommendations were presented on 7 September 2016. As cochairs of the BRP, we describe our approach, what it produced, and our expectations.

The BRP chose to focus on areas well positioned to benefit from additional coordination and support promised by the Cancer Moonshot. The BRP established working groups to focus on research areas that were not already well advanced. Each working group was charged with developing two to three recommendations for research already begun. What sets these recommendations apart from previous efforts and ongoing investigator-initiated research is the opportunity to establish coordinated, multidisciplinary collaborative projects with the impetus of the Cancer Moonshot.

More than 150 people—including scientists, clinicians, patient advocates, and industry representatives—participated in the working groups. To supplement the working groups, NCI led a campaign to collect input from the wider research community and the public. This included a website where more than 1600 ideas and comments were submitted, all of which were reviewed by the BRP cochairs and the relevant working groups. The majority of the ideas submitted aligned with those discussed by the BRP; all had been considered. Thus, the recommendations of the BRP reflect what the broader community sees as ripe for progress.”

Read the full article on the Science website.

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