A government-wide effort is underway to help facilitate 10 years' worth of cancer research in five years. Announcements across a number of agencies were made recently as part of the Cancer Moonshot initiative. Programs range from unleashing the government's supercomputing power on massive health care data sets to redesigning a website to help patients who are looking for clinical trials.
The Commerce Department is planning to roll out a new program to speed up the review of patent applications for cancer immunotherapies. The program targets one of the most promising areas of cancer research, which focuses on training the body's immune system to identify and destroy tumor cells. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that more than 20 drug companies will get an accelerated path to studying not-yet-approved treatments that would normally be delayed more than a year.
The announcements were made in the wake of the first National Cancer Moonshot Summit hosted by Vice President Joe Biden at Howard University on June 29. In a national day of action, over 270 events took place across the country with the goal of building support for the administration's $1 billion request to fund the fight against cancer.
“Cancer touches everyone in some way. Almost every one of us in here has lost someone relatively close to us,” Biden said in his opening remarks at the summit. “We’re all here because we can do something about it.”
A survey commissioned by Research!America shows that 50% of Americans favor a tax increase to support the moonshot initiative and research to defeat cancer. Mary Woolley, president and CEO of Research!America, shared these survey results and other advocacy initiatives in a letter to the White House Cancer Moonshot Task Force.