Highlights from the National Cancer Moonshot Summit

By Louise M. Perkins, Ph.D., MRA Chief Science Officer | 7 July 2016 | Events, News

mra cancer moonshot

cancer moonshotThe National Cancer Moonshot was announced by President Obama in his State of the Union Address in January 2016 and VP Biden was charged with spearheading the effort. Few would disagree with Mr. Biden’s selection as leader given the personal experience he and his family endured with the loss of their son, Beau, to cancer. After seeing him speak on the subject at the American Society for Clinical Oncology meeting, his passion for defeating cancer is very evident as genuine and inspiring. VP Biden continued to convey his passion at the National Cancer Moonshot Summit held two weeks ago in Washington, DC.

This passion is important and widely shared. What’s been gratifying to see is that Mr. Biden has brought in others that share the personal impact, experience, and drive to make a difference.  Greg Simon, the executive director of the Moonshot, was a member of MRA’s Board of Directors, and is a cancer patient himself.  Between the two of them and the Task Force of advisors assembled, the opportunity to propel cancer research forward in new ways is tantalizing.

But passion alone is not enough to exploit available treatments and technology, the potential resources the Moonshot offers, and, importantly, the will to come together to do something different.  Defining the goals of the National Cancer Moonshot and how those will be achieved is critical.

Towards this objective, VP Biden assembled around 300 leaders from around the country to attend the National Cancer Moonshot Summit on June 28 at Howard University in Washington, DC.  It was a privilege to be invited with patients as well as participants from academia, corporations, government and non-profits Hearing the VP and other thoughtful speakers, including emcee Carol Burnett, was a truly inspiring experience.

The overarching objective of the Moonshot is to achieve the work of 10-years in a 5-year timeframe. But how do we get there? 

Moderated working groups were assembled from the Summit participants and tasked to identify the challenges and solutions on topics ranging from improved sharing and harvesting of patient data to increasing the participation of patients in cancer clinical studies. The ideas submitted along with those collected in an online submission tool are to be evaluated by the Task Force as part of the ongoing prioritization of activities to achieve the objective.

What’s next?

We look forward to learning more and participating on behalf of melanoma and all cancer patients to drive towards ever better solutions that speed progress towards improved outcomes.

The Cancer Moonshot is a mission, and all of us #CanServe.