Allocating it with an initial budget of $2.5 billion in 2022, the Biden-Harris administration tasked the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) with advancing the Cancer Moonshot’s goal of “reducing the cancer death rate in the United States by at least half—preventing more than 4 million cancer deaths by 2047—and improving the experience of people who are touched by cancer.”

In March 2024, ARPA-H announced a new program to achieve that goal: the Advanced Analysis for Precision Cancer Therapy (ADAPT), a “visionary collaboration between scientists, clinicians, and patients that will usher in a new era of cancer care by harnessing advanced technologies to provide a deeper understanding of and treatment response to tumor biology.”

With a focus on cancer biomarkers and tumors’ unique genetic code, ADAPT is developing clinical trials in a three-pronged approach:

  • Create cutting-edge technologies to monitor changes in tumor biology including by building and testing sophisticated biomarkers in near real time
  • Employ an evolutionary clinical trial design which will dynamically adjust to incorporate detailed data on a patient’s cancer to improve outcomes for people facing advanced cancer
  • Develop a data-driven system so clinicians can proactively measure and respond to treat evolving cancer

“This iterative approach promises to speed up the development of new biomarkers, shaping more effective treatment strategies and fostering a cancer treatment process that is adaptive and personalized,” the agency said. “ADAPT will establish a centralized collaborative space for clinicians and researchers to access and analyze a wealth of data and resources in real time to enhance patient care.” 

ADAPT builds on work from groups like the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Systems Biology Consortium by developing, testing, and validating therapy response biomarkers within a linked clinical trial infrastructure, thereby filling an identified gap.

“The ADAPT program represents a pioneering leap in cancer treatment, marrying advanced technologies with a patient-centric approach,” ARPA-H Director Renee Wegrzyn, PhD, said. “As tumors evolve, so must our strategies, and ADAPT is poised to lead the charge in transforming cancer care for millions of Americans.”

Learn more about ONS’s and its members' work with the Cancer Moonshot.