Alec Stone
Alec Stone MA, MPA, ONS Public Affairs Director

After the dust settled from the presidential election, Congress returned to Washington to complete some remaining legislative work before the new year. Among the newly approve legislation, the 21st Century Cures Act was passed, and it aims to have major implications for expanding oncology research in the coming months and years.

Through the 21st Century Cures Act, Congress allocated $1.8 billion over the next seven years to the National Cancer Moonshot Initiative. The Cancer Moonshot, championed by former Vice President Biden, had been gaining steam throughout 2016 to drive a decade’s worth of cancer research and progress in just five years. In the moments before the 21st Century Cures Act was passed, the Senate voted to rename the bill to the Beau Biden Cancer Moonshot bill. This was done in honor of former Vice President Biden’s son who died from a glioblastoma in 2015.

The initial boost of revenue included in the bill added $300 million for the fiscal year 2017. This allowed the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to immediately invest that money into oncology research. From priorities listed by the NCI’s Blue Ribbon Panel, the allocated funds went directly into identified areas of research for cancer treatment and care.

According to NCI’s Director, Doug Lowy, “Planning for implementation of longer-term Moonshot-related scientific initiatives is also underway, and we look forward to engaging our extramural colleagues in this process.”

The investment will be a multiple-institute initiative, focused on finding the best science and cultivating partnerships across many fields of oncology and research. There’s great optimism about what the future may bring with this kind of bipartisan support for cancer research.