In January 2016, President Obama appointed Vice President Joe Biden as the chair of a new national initiative to “end cancer as we know it.” Dubbed the Cancer Moonshot, the goal is to make the same advances in five years that would usually take 10 to achieve. 

Bringing the resources of the federal government, along with his personal commitment to the cause, Vice President Biden directed the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI’s) Blue Ribbon Panel (BRP) to provide a list of recommendations for where federal dollars should be spent to achieve this goal. Bringing together some of the brightest minds in oncology, health care, nursing, and research, the BRP convened through the summer to develop these recommendations.  

In September 2016, the BRP presented its recommendations for areas of investment:

  • Network for direct patient engagement
  • Cancer immunotherapy clinical trials network
  • Therapeutic target identification to overcome drug resistance
  • A national cancer data ecosystem for sharing and analysis
  • Fusion oncoproteins in pediatric cancer
  • Symptom management research
  • Prevention and early detection: implementation of evidence-based approaches
  • Retrospective analysis of biospecimens from patients treated with standard of care
  • Generation of human tumor atlases
  • Development of new enabling cancer technologies

This is an audacious, but not exhaustive list. The idea is to attempt to transform the understanding of cancer to better prevent and treat the disease. The BRP recommendation are listed in detail on the NCI’s website