Cancer Moonshot moves forward with new 'Cancer Cabinet' and goals to reduce cancer
President Joe Biden’s revival of the Cancer Moonshot initiative now includes a new Cancer Cabinet, with some big ideas to make the goals of the Moonshot feasible.
The White House’s so-called Cancer Cabinet — a new entity created when Biden re-ignited the Cancer Moonshot in February 2022 — announced specific “priority initiatives” earlier this week as part of the initiative’s stated goal of trying to cut cancer fatality by half in 25 years. The Cabinet, according to the White House, includes multiple federal agencies, including the NCI, FDA, CDC, and NIH — and the recently-added Departments of Labor and Commerce, NASA and the White House Gender Policy Council.
Originally started in 2016, the moonshot initiative was born after then-Vice President Biden under the Obama administration lost his son Beau to brain cancer.
The Cancer Cabinet outlined the following priority actions, a White House statement said:
- improving access to cancer screenings, citing that Americans missed almost 10 million cancer screenings compared to previous years because of the Covid-19 pandemic,
- addressing environmental and toxic exposures, as the White House pointed out that certain environmental factors can play a role in certain types of cancer,
- decreasing the impact of preventable cancers through different options such as the HPV vaccine and hepatitis C antivirals, and to
- “support” the R&D pipeline for development and involve more populations in clinical research.
Beyond that, the USPTO also announced that it was extending its fast-track program for cancer products, which was first implemented in June 2016 as part of the Cancer Moonshot. According to the White House, patent applications related to cancer immunotherapy are given an accelerated review, cutting the review time in half.
On top of those goals from the Cancer Cabinet, the White House also announced Wednesday that it is appointing three doctors onto the advisory President’s Cancer Panel: Elizabeth Jaffee, Mitchel Berger and Carol Brown. Members are appointed to serve three-year terms.
Jaffee, a deputy director at Johns Hopkins’ cancer center, is a previous AACR president and will serve as the Panel’s chair. Mitchel Berger, on top of being the director of the Brain Tumor Center, is also director of the Center for Neurological Injury and Repair. Carol Brown is a gynecologic oncologist at Sloan Kettering.
And as part of the now-revitalized Cancer Moonshot, the CDC recently cut a $215 million check as part of a 5-year, $1.1 billion grant to fund the first year of three national programs established in the 1990s to improve cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis and control in all 50 states, plus 18 tribal organizations and five territories.