Cancer Moonshot

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    Vice President Joe Biden releases Cancer Moonshot recommendations, ASTRO leadership attends meeting

    Vice President Joe Biden met with President Obama on October 17, 2016, to submit the final report of the Cancer Moonshot Initiative. Former ASTRO chairman, Bruce Haffty, MD, FASTRO, attended a ceremony following the meeting at the White House.

    ASTRO responds to the Blue Ribbon Panel Recommendations

    On September 21, 2016, ASTRO responded to the NCI Blue Ribbon Panel recommendations in a letter to the Cancer Moonshot Initiative Executive Director, Greg Simon. ASTRO commends the hard work of the panel in developing these recommendations, however remains concerns about the lack of inclusion of radiation oncologists during the process.

    Cancer Moonshot Blue Ribbon Panel recommendations released

    The Blue Ribbon Panel for the Cancer Moonshot Initiative published a draft version of their report, which includes recommendations from seven working groups tasked with assessing the state of science in their respective areas and identifying major research opportunities that could benefit from the support of the Cancer Moonshot Initiative. View the report.

    What are the next steps for this program?

    • The NCI Acting Director, Doug Lowy, MD, will need to approve the draft report, which he has already promised to do.
    • The Cancer Moonshot Initiative Task Force, headed up by Vice President Joe Biden, will need to approve the report.
    • Funding for the initiative will need to be appropriated in the Congressional Budget. The FY 2017 budget is the most likely avenue for this appropriation, which Congress has yet to agree upon.
    • Funding structures for research within the scope of the recommendations will need to be created and implemented.

    Today’s announcement is one step on a long road toward progress in the field of cancer research. ASTRO will continue to promote research in the field of radiation oncology and collaborations with researchers in other branches of oncology in order to further this progress.

    What is the Cancer Moonshot Initiative?

    At the State of the Union Address in January 2016, President Obama outlined a new initiative to advance progress in cancer research by streamlining government resources. This initiative, the Cancer Moonshot Initiative (CMI), led by Vice President Joe Biden, aims to speed the rate of discovery so that scientists can produce in 5 years what currently takes 10.

    The Task Force and Blue Ribbon Panel 

    In an effort to understand barriers and obstacles that currently impede progress, Vice President Biden has put together a Task Force and a Blue Ribbon Panel to engage with the cancer community. This Task Force includes representatives from many government agencies and the Blue Ribbon Panel at the NIH to determine research areas that hold the most promise in advancing treatment and improving patient outcomes have been formed.

    Timeline of Moonshot Activities

    • September 2016: Blue Ribbon panel sends research recommendations to the National Cancer Advisory Board (NCAB). NCAB reviews and sends report to the Acting NCI Director Doug Lowy, MD.
    • September 2016: Blue Ribbon Panel report released to the public.

    How has ASTRO participated in the Cancer Moonshot?

    February  ASTRO President Bruce Minsky published a letter in support of the Cancer Moonshot initiative.
    April ASTRO leadership met with Greg Simon, Executive Director of the CMI, to discuss the important role for radiation oncology in the Moonshot.
    May and June ASTRO members submitted research ideas to the NCI on the website.
    June ASTRO leadership participated in Vice President Biden's Cancer Moonshot Summit in DC.
    June ASTRO members and others participated in Virtual Summit/Twitter Chat to discuss radiation oncology cancer research ideas.

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