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April 8, 2016

Cancer Moonshot White Paper

As you are aware, Vice President Biden and President Obama announced the Cancer Moonshot during the 2016 State of the Union Address. Since that time, there has been considerable development of efforts both on the part of the Executive Branch and through the NCI. In the course of this effort, we approached the Office of the Vice President (OVP) and discussed a number of topics that, at their request, led to a white paper followed by a face to face meeting in DC. 

Through a committee which included representatives from our 3 institutions, we prepared a document [CaseCCC_CancerMoonshot_OVP_2016-03] that was submitted to the OVP in a coordinated effort to outline initiatives we thought important in response to the Cancer Moonshot. We emphasized not the discovery and grant funding efforts that will be managed through the NCI, but those activities of potential interest to the OVP. 

The focus within the OVP includes:

  • Accelerate understanding of cancer causes, treatment and prevention 

  • Improve access to new research, data and computational abilities 

  • Improve patient access and care 

  • Identify and address unnecessary regulatory barriers to create administrative reforms

Our white paper indeed attracted interest and resulted in a 90-minute session with Greg Simon, newly appointed director of the Moonshot initiative from the OVP, and his staff.

When Brian Bolwell and I met with the Moonshot group I am sorry to say we did not see VP Biden, but had a very effective meeting nonetheless.

As a result of all this, early this week we submitted three topics of interest, and are working on others. They were interested in smoking cessation, bioinformatics and EMR access and data mining. We have responded with short white papers on these areas.

Recently, in addition, Cleveland Clinic provided a comprehensive report on initiatives they are pursuing in community health navigation and prevention.

The good news is that we have been seen and heard. More to follow.

In a complementary fashion, the NCI has published the formation of a Blue Ribbon Committee that will result in NCI RFAs this fall ["Aiming High - Changing the Trajectory for Cancer," Lowy DR. N Engl J Med 2016 Apr 4].

The Blue Ribbon emphasis will be as follows:

  • Prevention and cancer vaccine development

  • Early detection of cancer

  • Cancer immunology and combination therapy

  • Genomic analysis of tumors and microenvironment

  • Enhanced data sharing

  • Pediatric cancer

  • Exceptional opportunities fund (new ideas)

While we do not have a Case CCC member on the committee, there will be a number of working groups to provide input. 

More importantly, the RFA timelines are likely to be 8-10 weeks, so please have your grant writing pencils ready. And special for all of you, remember to interdigitate these submissions with the obligate grant writing for the renewal.