Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) expresses its unequivocal support for the 10 recommendations that were outlined today by the Cancer Moonshot Blue Ribbon Panel at the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) National Cancer Advisory Board (NCAB) Meeting. The AACR also wishes to thank Vice President Joe Biden for his leadership of the National Cancer Moonshot Initiative.
These recommendations reflect a combined effort of government leaders, private industry representatives, researchers, oncologists, physician-scientists, patient advocates, and philanthropic officials to identify programs and initiatives "that are poised for acceleration and that could unleash new cancer breakthroughs if implemented," according to the Cancer Moonshot Blue Ribbon Panel Report 2016. They build upon the progress in cancer research to date and represent a vision for transforming the future of cancer research and treatment.
"The recommendations that were announced today by the Cancer Moonshot Blue Ribbon Panel are vitally important to accomplishing the goal of the National Cancer Moonshot Initiative, which is to achieve a decade's worth of advances in five years," said AACR President Nancy E. Davidson, MD, director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. "Therefore, the AACR calls on Congress and the Administration to begin the work of finding a path forward for securing the funding necessary to support these incredibly significant scientific opportunities, which ultimately will make a major positive difference for cancer patients and their loved ones."
The AACR is totally committed to supporting Vice President Biden and his team in all facets of the National Cancer Moonshot Initiative, and is especially pleased that 20 of its members, including two Past Presidents, three Fellows of the AACR Academy, and three members of the Board of Directors were part of the 28-member Blue Ribbon Panel whose charge it was to inform the scientific direction and goals under the vice president's national cancer initiative.
"We are truly at an inflection point for preventing and treating cancer, which is the result of decades of dedicated efforts to increase our knowledge and understanding of the more than 200 diseases called cancer," said Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc), chief executive officer of the AACR. "The recommendations from the Blue Ribbon Panel underscore the fact that today's highly innovative scientific research, due in part to relatively recent technological advances, is leading the way for the National Cancer Moonshot Initiative and its pivotal role in helping us to markedly reduce cancer morbidity and mortality."
The Blue Ribbon Panel Report with its 10 recommendations is one of three reports comprising the Cancer Moonshot, and complements the Task Force Report and the Vice President's Report, due in the fall. The cross-cutting, actionable recommendations highlighted in the report will change the trajectory of our understanding of how to prevent and treat cancer, and significantly improve outcomes for patients with cancer.
"The vice president has galvanized the community to move forward so we can greatly improve our ability to prevent, diagnose, and treat cancer," said Douglas Lowy, MD, acting director of the NCI. "The efforts of the Blue Ribbon Panel and working group members have been extraordinary, and I thank them for their time, energy, and ideas. I am confident that the cancer community will build on this effort and seize this unprecedented opportunity to accelerate progress."
The AACR will continue to build on the momentum from today's announcement when it issues its AACR Cancer Progress Report 2016 on Sept. 20, with a special section dedicated to the recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Panel. The following day, the AACR will host a congressional briefing on progress against cancer featuring key speaker and NCAB Chair Elizabeth Jaffee, MD, who will present the Blue Ribbon Panel recommendations to members of Congress and their staff.
In addition to the involvement of AACR members on the Blue Ribbon Panel, the AACR has exhibited leadership on the Cancer Moonshot Initiative from the very beginning. In April, Vice President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden addressed nearly 4,000 attendees during the AACR Annual Meeting 2016 in New Orleans. Prior to the announcement of Biden's National Cancer Moonshot Initiative in February, 15 distinguished AACR leaders and members representing 10 medical institutions and nine states met with Biden's staff on Jan. 8 to discuss areas of considerable promise in cancer research including precision medicine, immunotherapy, and potential collaboration around big data, citing AACR's Project GENIE as an example. Shortly thereafter, Biden invited the AACR's President and two Past Presidents to provide their expert guidance at a special session, "Cancer Moonshot: A Call to Action," at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Since then, Biden has continued to meet with AACR members as he visits cancer centers throughout the United States.