The Cancer Moonshot Task Force has just released its 5 year plan for implementing President Obama’s “Cancer Moonshot” program (“Report”). The initiative, announced during President Obama’s 2016 State of the Union Address, is a national effort to dramatically accelerate efforts to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer that take advantage of recent advances in molecular medicine and information sciences. This initiative is unique in its emphasis on public and private collaboration:

“The Cancer Moonshot aims to realize this promise by leveraging public and private efforts focused on building a system in which patients, researchers, and clinicians can seamlessly share information on treatments and outcomes to accelerate research, guide treatment decisions, and improve cancer outcomes for people across the Nation, and ultimately the world.”

Report at page 2.

Five Goal Approach

The Report, authored by the Moonshot Task Force, noted the need to have an organizational framework for addressing and uniting efforts to reach the goal of improving cancer diagnosis and therapy. Five goals emerged, each of which is noted to be critical to the overall mission, but also intended to build on and augment the success of the other goals. Report at page 5.

Strategic Goal 1: Catalyze New Scientific Breakthroughs

New scientific breakthroughs will be accelerated by: 1) promoting interdisciplinary approaches for elucidating the biological mechanism underlying cancer onset and treatment; 2) aligning research and care as a seamless and iterative process; and 3) maximizing the collection and research use of longitudinal data and biospecimens.

Strategic Goal 2: Unleash the Power of Data

A stated goal of the Task Force is to maximize access to and usability of data now available due to advances in genomic information and health record information.  This will be achieved by: 1) enabling a seamless data environment; 2) supporting open publication and storage platforms; and 3) developing a workforce that can take advantage of the open and connected environment.

Strategic Goal 3: Accelerate Bringing New Therapies to Patients

New effective therapies are the ultimate goal of the President’s initiative. The Task Force seeks to remove impediments by: 1) finding efficiencies in regulatory review and licensing processes; 2) enhance data sharing and incentivize pre-competitive collaborations; and 3) strengthen oncology clinical research.

Strategic Goal 4: Strengthen Prevention and Diagnosis

Cancer prevention and diagnosis can be strengthened by: 1) promoting public access to health programs, policies and outreach; 2) gaining a better understanding of the environmental determinants of cancer; and 3) enhancing cancer screening and testing.

Strategic Goal 5: Improve Patient Access and Care

Strategic goal 5 seeks to build on the improved access to health care provided by the Affordable Care Act. The Task Force seeks to identify areas with the greatest potential for meaningful patient impact by: 1) improve efficiencies of current programs; 2) improve cancer prevention, treatment and quality of care by applying current knowledge into workable policies; and 3) ensuring each patient receives quality care.

Creating New Paradigms

The Report sets out a blueprint with a series of activities to accelerate gains for cancer diagnosis and therapy – that is, to achieve ten years of progress in five. The Report summarizes the aspirations, conceptual and practical, that can be achieved:

“Ultimately, through the creation of new paradigms for generating, sharing, and integrating research and clinical data to enhance patient care, the Cancer Moonshot can accelerate the delivery of effective cancer prevention strategies, diagnostics, and treatments to patients in communities around the world.”

Report at page 29.