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October 31, 2016

AACI national meeting, presentation by Doug Lowy, Acting Director of NCI

This past week attended the national meeting of the Association of American Cancer Institutes (AACI) in Chicago.

It was an excellent meeting of cancer center directors and administrators that included discussion of implementation of genomic tumor boards, use of molecular testing in clinical practice, a wonderful presentation on progress in immunotherapy by Jim Allison, and presentations on the core grant and cancer center activities by the NCI.
 
Greg Simon, Executive Director of the White House Cancer Moonshot Task Force, spoke about the ongoing commitment by VP Biden on the Cancer Moonshot (reflecting his talk in Cleveland last Monday), and singled out our involvement in generating the long list of 225 proposals from all the cancer centers, which he is now pursuing with venture and other private funding, and of our development of community-oriented efforts in HPV vaccination and smoking cessation.
 
From the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, Sandy Markowitz presented his recent discoveries in early detection of both colon cancer and his remarkable new test, developed with Amitabh Chak, of a simple balloon swallow test for Barrett's Esophagus. Chris Hoimes gave a presentation with rave reviews on how Seidman Cancer Center has implemented a genomics tumor board.  
 
I presented my plans for having the AACI and its 94 member cancer centers tackle the development and expansion of regional and in some instances national networks from the vantage point of the structure, delivery of care, carepaths and clinical trials management. I will comment on that next week.
 
This week, I ask that you look over the slides presented by Doug Lowy, acting Director of NCI [Lowy-Making-Progress-Cancer-Res-AACI2016]. He provides a clear view of recent priorities of the NCI in terms of overall funding, the positioning of Moonshot Blue Ribbon Panel ideas in the grant pool, the progress with big data aggregation in support of research, and of both international initiatives and community-oriented research.  You will notice an interest in underserved populations, specifically the mention of African Americans with colon cancer and myeloma, the importance of precision medicine and immunotherapy, and the status of Moonshot ideas.
 
I welcome your thoughts on how we can do better in all these areas.