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Cancer Moonshot Initiative

STAT: Scientists Present Sweeping Recommendations for VP Biden’s Cancer ‘Moonshot’ Initiative

Vice President Joe Biden

Vice President Joe Biden

Washington, DC, September 8, 2016 — Dylan Scott reports on STAT that a panel of top scientists on Wednesday urged the Obama administration to bet big on tumor profiling and immunotherapy treatments in its cancer moonshot — two areas that are viewed with great promise, but still face unanswered questions about their ultimate effectiveness.

Scott reports that the experts are recommending the creation of a new national network that would allow cancer patients across the U.S. to have their tumors genetically profiled and included in a new national database — one of several recommended steps that they say would significantly speed the progress of cancer research in the United States.

The panel also is urging the creation of a network to coordinate clinical trials using immunotherapy, the promising new treatment that turns the body’s immune system against the disease. Continue reading

Clinton Endorses VP Biden’s Cancer ‘Moonshot’ Program, Says She’ll ‘Take Up the Charge’

Hillary Clinton 1Washington, DC, August 16, 2016 — Dylan Scott reports on STAT that Hillary Clinton endorsed the Obama administration’s cancer moonshot initiative on Monday and pledged to continue its work if she is elected president.

The announcement preceded a campaign event that Clinton is holding with Vice President Joe Biden, who has led the effort after the death of his son Beau of brain cancer in 2015.

“As president, I will take up the charge. My administration will carry out the mission the Vice President has set,” Clinton said in a statement.  “Together, we will seize this moment. Together, we will make cancer as we know it a disease of the past.” Continue reading

Vice President Biden Outlines ‘Moonshot’ Initiatives to Battle Cancer at Howard University Summit

Cancer Research blueWashington, DC, July 1, 2016 ― U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden on Wednesday announced plans as part of the administration’s “Cancer Moonshot” initiative, aimed at speeding development of treatments by cutting bureaucracy and easing collaboration between scientists, industry, patients and government, reports Reuters.

Speaking at a cancer summit at Howard University in Washington, Biden made an impassioned plea for increased urgency in the fight against cancer.

The event was part of a national day of action involving hundreds of researchers, patient advocates and data experts across the country. Continue reading

Biden’s Cancer ‘Moonshot’ Summit: World’s Smartest Computer to Help Treat 10,000 Veterans with Cancer

Vice President Joe Biden

Vice President Joe Biden

Washington, DC, June 30, 2016 ― Laura McGinley reported in The Washington Post that IBM’s supercomputer Watson, known for its “Jeopardy” prowess, is teaming up with the Department of Veterans Affairs in a bid to revolutionize cancer care for veterans.

Under the IBM-VA partnership, Watson technology will be provided free for two years to the VA’s precision-oncology program.  The artificial intelligence system will analyze genomic information, pinpoint cancer-causing mutations and help identify potential treatments for as many as 10,000 patients.

The IBM-VA partnership is one of dozens of initiatives being that was announced Wednesday as part of Vice President Biden’s all-day cancer summit at Howard University in Washington. Continue reading

STAT News: Supercomputers to Play a Key Role in Supporting VP Biden’s Cancer ‘Moonshot’ Research Effort

Moonshot 1Washington, DC, June 16 ― David Nather reports on STAT News that the U.S. Department of Energy says it may have found a fast way to find new tactics for treating cancer:

Supercomputers.

The powerful technology, based at 17 national laboratories around the country, will be the department’s contribution to Vice President Joe Biden’s cancer initiative, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz wrote in a Medium post on June 15.

The goal: find patterns in the data on cancer patients to understand the disease better, and accelerate the search for new treatments. Continue reading

Vice President Biden Launches Major, Open-Access Database to Advance Cancer Research

Vice President Joe Biden

Vice President Joe Biden

Chicago, IL, June 7, 2016 ― Laurie McGinley reports in The Washington Post that Vice President Joe Biden yesterday announced the launch of a first-of-its kind, open-access cancer database to allow researchers to better understand the disease and develop more effective treatments.

The Genomic Data Commons, a part of the National Cancer Institute, contains the raw genomic and clinical data for 12,000 patients, with more records to come as researchers contribute to it, he said.

Besides detailed analyses of the molecular makeup of cancers, the database has information on which treatments were used and how patients responded. Continue reading

Vice President Biden Claims ‘Total Bipartisan Support’ for‘Moonshot’ Cancer Research Funding

Vice President Joe Biden

Vice President Joe Biden

Washington, DC, May 28, 2016 ― Vice President Biden on Thursday hinted that key GOP leaders are willing to support his billion-dollar request for cancer research funding this year, reports Sarah Ferris in The Hill.

Biden declared Thursday “there’s total bipartisan support” on Capitol Hill for his ambitious moonshot campaign to accelerate cures for cancer.

“Some of the best leadership coming from the Hill now, in terms of funding of this first year of a new moonshot, is being led by Republicans,” Biden told a roundtable at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Those Republicans, Biden said, “are talking about meeting my request for a billion dollars.” Continue reading

Obama Administration to Launch Microbiome Initiative, Heeding Scientists’ Calls

STATWashington, DC, May 13 ― The White House is set to launch a new national program Friday to study microbiomes found on the human body and across different ecosystems, following calls from scientists to unlock the secrets of the microbes that have a big impact on people’s health and the environment, reports David Nather on STAT News.

The new National Microbiome Initiative will start with a federal investment of $121 million in funding from several agencies and will include private support from more than 100 outside organizations, including $100 million over four years from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, according to a White House fact sheet that was posted online on Thursday.

The new initiative is the latest in a series of Obama administration programs to advance medical science. It has already launched the Precision Medicine Initiative, which is trying to accelerate research into treatments tailored to individual patients; the BRAIN Initiative, the project to map the human brain; and Vice President Joe Biden’s cancer research effort, which is now getting underway. Continue reading

‘Cancer Moonshot’ to Start Crowdsourcing Stories, Studies Today on Medium

Moonshot 1Washington, DC, May 12, 2016 ― Jayne O’Donnell reports in USA Today that Vice President Biden’s “cancer moonshot” will start crowdsourcing patients’ stories and experts’ research Wednesday on the blog platform Medium.com to help accelerate efforts to find a cancer cure.

President Obama put Biden, who lost his son Beau to cancer last year, in charge of the so-called moonshot during the State of the Union address in January and later proposed to spend $1 billion on cancer research.  The effort is dubbed a moonshot because of its scope and big-picture hopes — reminiscent of President Kennedy’s plan 55 years ago to land on the moon.

Seven working groups were established this week for the moonshot, according to an essay on Medium by National Cancer Institute acting director Douglas Lowy.  Each group has more than a dozen subject matter experts and patient advocates. Continue reading

Pallone Holds Roundtable Discussion on President Obama’s Cancer Moonshot Initiative at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey

Pallone Moonshot Cancer 1

U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone (second from right) leads discussion on cancer research at Rutgers

New Brunswick, NJ, May 5 ― Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) May 3 held a roundtable discussion on President Obama’s Cancer Moonshot Initiative at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey.

The Institute’s interim director Bruce G. Haffty, MD, researchers from the institute, officials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and cancer research advocates also participated in the discussion.

“The Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey is an international leader in cutting edge cancer research and treatment,” said Pallone.  “I am proud of its contributions and can see it has an important role to play in the National Cancer Moonshot Initiative that both President Obama and Vice President Biden have been championing.” Continue reading