As many of you already know, from following this blog, both of my parents suffered from different forms of cancer. My father-in-law also suffered from skin cancers throughout his life. Many friends and relatives have been diagnosed with some form of the little c. So imagine my excitement when I read that the University of Texas’ M. D. Anderson Cancer Center was announcing a new program to aggressively go after the disease in an unprecedented way. Please read on about their new program they are calling “Moon Shots.” And after reading if you’d like to get involved financially, please consider donating to our Cancer Survivorship Fund (a link is found at the top of this blog).
Just as President John F. Kennedy in 1962 explained why the United States should put a man on the moon before the end of the decade, MD Anderson president Ronald DePinho, M.D., has challenged our scientists and clinicians to rapidly and significantly reduce mortality in several major cancers.
While we’ve made tremendous advancements in cancer treatment and research, millions of people worldwide continue to die of the disease each year. The time is now to end cancer.
We’re in a period of revolutionary change with new technology and advanced scientific knowledge, most notably the mapping of the human genome, coming together and bringing new hope for cures.
Supported by MD Anderson’s robust research and clinical infrastructure, large patient volumes, unique drug discovery capabilities and global academic network, the Moon Shots Program focuses teams that will demonstrate short-term improvement and major, long-range impact for their specific cancers across the spectrum – cancer prevention, early detection, treatment and survival.
The Moon Shots Program initially targets eight cancers, selected based on rigorous criteria: the current state of scientific knowledge across the continuum from cancer prevention to survivorship; the strength and breadth of the assembled teams; and the potential for measurable success in reducing cancer deaths.
The selected cancers are:
Each moon shot team will receive funding and other resources needed for ambitious and innovative research ideas, prioritized for patient impact, ranging from basic research and biomarker-driven clinical trials to behavioral interventions and public policy initiatives.
Full implementation of the Moon Shots Program begins in February 2013.
“The Moon Shots Program holds the potential for a new approach to research that eventually can be applied to all cancers, and even to other chronic diseases,” DePinho says. “History has taught us that if we put our minds to a task, the human spirit will prevail. We must do this – humanity is depending on all of us.”
Moon Shot Platforms
The Moon Shots Program will be enabled by a series of cross-cutting platforms built upon a paradigm that brings together the best attributes of both academia and industry. These platforms are staffed by cross-functional professional teams charged with executing in a goal-oriented milestone-driven manner to convert current knowledge into drugs, tests, devices and policies that can benefit patients as quickly as possible.
- Clinical Genomics – Clinical gene sequencing infrastructure, including centralized bio-specimen repository and processing
- Omics – Bioinformatics – A high-throughput infrastructure for generation and standardization of large-scale “omic” data, including genomics, proteomics and immune profiling
- Massive Data Analytics – An infrastructure for complex analytics and clinical decision support using integrated patient information, including clinical and research data
- Cancer Control – Implementation of policies and education strategies to affect cancer prevention and early screening
- Early Detection – Discovery of biomarkers and risk models by imaging, serum/tissue and phenotypic markers to detect early-stage disease
- Center for Co-Clinical Trials – Define indications for novel therapeutics and developing combination strategies using preclinical models
- Institute for Personalized Cancer Therapy – Enable personalized cancer medicine by optimizing efficacy while minimizing toxicity
- Institute for Applied Cancer Science – Drug discovery and development
- Diagnostics Development – Diagnostic test development and implementation
- Big Data – An Information Technology infrastructure/environment that enables centralization, integration and secured access of patient and research data and analytical results
- Adaptive Learning in Genomic Medicine – A framework for bringing clinical medicine and genomic research together to enable rapid learning to improve patient management using Clinical Genomics, Omics-Bioinformatics and Massive Data Analytics platforms within the Big Data environment
- Translational Research Continuum – A framework to accelerate the progression of therapeutic programs from preclinical to clinical development stages, by integrating the Center for Co-Clinical Trials and other platforms with Phase I/II clinical infrastructure
Thanks for allowing me this chance to share this exciting info with you, my informed readers. May we see this disease wiped out in our lifetime!