Panel Issues 10 Scientific Recommendations for “Cancer Moonshot”

Cancer experts offered detailed advice to propel the Obama Administration’s effort to improve cancer research. 

Sep 8, 2016
Ben Andrew Henry

FLICKR, MARC NOZELL

A panel of scientific experts assembled to advise Vice President Joe Biden’s National Cancer Moonshot issued 10 recommendations this week (September 7) on how to accomplish the initiative’s goal of accelerating cancer research and breaking down barriers to progress. The panel recommended expanding research into immunotherapy and drug resistance, mining patient data to predict therapy outcomes, and boosting data sharing through national cancer databases. The report also emphasized the need for wider implementation of prevention strategies, including “tobacco control, colorectal cancer screening, and HPV vaccination.”

Taken together, these recommendations articulate a “vision for the future of cancer research” that emphasizes collaboration between researchers and technological innovation, the panelists wrote.

Vice President Biden suggested the Moonshot last year, following the death of his son Beau to brain cancer. The Obama Administration embraced the program and proposed a $1 billion investment toward its aim to “eliminate cancer as we know it.” Congress is currently weighing the option to include that funding in the fiscal year 2017 budget. "We can now take these 10 recommendations to Capitol Hill to try to inspire support for the cancer moonshot," Jon Retzlaff of the American Association for Cancer Research told the Washington Post. "It's important to have something of substance we can show, and today we have it." 

The panel of experts includes “cancer researchers, oncologists, patient advocates, and private-sector leaders,” the report stated. Their recommendations focus on existing areas of research that can “produce results in the near term,” co-chair and cancer biologist Tyler Jacks of MIT told Science. “We really need to show we can produce something,” cancer researcher Elizabeth Jaffee of Johns Hopkins told Nature.