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Ten Critical Excerpts from the Blue-Ribbon Panel’s Recommendations for the Cancer Moonshot

September 14, 2016

Blue Ribbon Panel

Last Thursday, a blue-ribbon panel consisting of 28 cancer researchers and patient advocates presented their ten recommendations for achieving the goals of Vice President Joe Biden’s Cancer Moonshot.

The panel’s report, which was accepted by the National Cancer Advisory Board, will soon be reviewed by Vice President Biden’s Moonshot Task Force, and then used to create a comprehensive strategy in the national push to cure cancer.

In the blue-ribbon panel’s accompanying video, experts in cancer research and treatment, including professors, clinicians, administrators, and scientists, share insights on their recommendations and further discuss what they mean for our ability to fight cancer as a nation.

Here are what we found to be the top ten excerpts, in no particular order, from the powerful and moving video:

#1: “The Vice President’s cancer initiative comes at exactly the right time to really help us accelerate our understanding of the whole cancer process.” – Dina Singer, Ph.D., Director, Acting Deputy Director, National Cancer Institute.

#2: “The blue-ribbon panel was given an important charge, which was to think about what could be done in ten years and then try to do it in five.”  – Tyler Jacks, Ph.D., Director, Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, M.I.T. Chair, National Cancer Advisory Board.

#3: “Some of the recommendations are going to just enhance our understanding of cancer. Some of are going to be trying to improve implementation and dissemination of what we already know works.” – Douglas R. Lowy, M.D., Acting Director, National Cancer Institute.

#4: “The recommendation to speed up research is to do a national clinical trial in which we look at various forms of immunotherapy to try to understand why some patients respond to check point blockers and others do not.” – Laurie Glimcher, M.D., Professor of Medicine & Dean, Weill Cornell Medical College, Incoming President & CEO, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

#5: “It’s about being able to eliminate cancer based on our deep genetic understanding.” – Mary Beckerle, Ph.D., CEO & Director, Huntsman Cancer Center, University of Utah.

#6: “It [The Cancer Moonshot] is precision medicine. It’s a total evaluation of the patient’s tumor and other aspects of the individual patient.” – Edith Mitchell, M.D., F.A.C.P., Professor of Medical Oncology & Associate Director, Diversity Services, Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University.

 

#7: “Part of the concept of this atlas, whether it’s an immune atlas, or whether it’s a tumor evolution atlas, is to really link genetic data with inflammatory immune data, with epigenetic data, with pharmacokinetic data. And then with clinical data so that we can really make big data usable to all of us.” – Elizabeth Jaffee, M.D., Professor & Deputy Director, Translational Research, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Johnson Hopkins University School of Medicine.

#8: “This Moonshot blue-ribbon is about all patients. There’s no question that all these recommendations are cross-cutting and will get to these patients.” – Ellen Sigal, Ph.D., Founder & Chair, Friends of Cancer Research.

#9: “The Vice President, with his passion and commitment, says he’s going to be doing this for the rest of his life. With him as our champion, I think we are going to do very well.” – Douglas R. Lowy, M.D., Acting Director, National Cancer Institute.

#10: “This is the first time I’ve seen this amount of excitement behind cancer research. Our job now is to make sure these initiatives and recommendations we’re putting forth benefit everyone. And I think that’s the challenge.” – Maria Elena Martinez, Ph.D., Sam M. Walton Endowed Chair for Cancer Research, Moores Cancer Center, University of San Diego.