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Cancer Moonshot: What’s Next In a Transitioning Administration?

Just over a year ago, on January 12, 2016, former President Barack Obama announced the Cancer Moonshot effort as part of his final State of the Union address. Since that time, former Vice President Joe Biden has worked to build structure and support that will accelerate cancer research to ultimately bring more effective treatments to cancer patients.

Work to date has included the release of a Blue Ribbon Panel Report, efforts to make clinical trials information more accessible and encourage the development of significant public-private partnerships. Most recently, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) announced a partnership, the NCI Formulary, between NCI and pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies that will help expedite use of agents in clinical trials.

With the administration currently in a transition period, there are many questions about the fate of the Moonshot program. Former Vice President Joe Biden has strongly encouraged President Trump and his administration to continue the Federal commitment to the Moonshot. The prospects that the program will move forward were greatly strengthened by the strong bipartisan passage of the 21st Century Cures Act which allocates $1.6 billion dollars to the Moonshot as well as $1.5 billion to the Precision Medicine Initiative. However, sustaining momentum and focus will be critical to moving towards better treatments and patient access. 

The former Vice President has also created a new private Foundation, the Biden Cancer Initiative, which will focus on improving data standards to help researchers work with community care organizations to improve access to care and push pharmaceutical companies, insurance providers and biotech companies to ensure patients can afford treatments. The goal of the Foundation is to make progress in changing the way the nation conducts cancer research and development and providing care to those with the disease. 

We thank former Vice President Biden, former President Barack Obama and the leadership of the National Cancer Institute and National Institutes of Health for their efforts and leadership, and look forward to supporting the future work of the Cancer Moonshot as we move forward towards our shared goal of developing more effective therapies and ensuring access and patient centered care for all Americans.

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