President Biden Reignites Cancer Moonshot Initiative

February 07, 2022 by Alec Stone MA, MPA, ONS Public Affairs Director

The explosion of immunotherapy in your practice? You can thank the Cancer Moonshot. New discoveries in oncodrivers for childhood cancers? Thank the Moonshot again. You can also thank it for better cancer prevention and screening strategies, attention to patient-centered care, and interprofessional collaboration among oncology scientists and clinicians.

Building on the momentum from those monumental discoveries, on February 2, 2022, President Joe Biden announced that he is reigniting Cancer Moonshot to focus on its new goal of reducing the death rate from cancer by at least 50% over the next 25 years. Originally launched in 2016 when Biden was vice president, its goals were to accelerate scientific discovery in cancer, foster greater collaboration, and improve the sharing of data, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

The Cancer Moonshot’s reignition also comes with a goal to improve the experience of patients and their families living with and surviving cancer. In addition to improving early diagnosis, addressing inequities, and supporting patients and their families and caregivers, Biden is rallying to mobilize the federal government by:

“We’ve made enormous progress in the past 50 years since Congress passed and President Nixon signed into law the National Cancer Act and declared war on cancer,” Biden said. “We learned cancer is not a singular disease. We discovered new medicines, therapies, and early detection and prevention measures that extend lives and save lives.”

“Over the first 20 years of this century, the age-adjusted death rate from cancer has fallen by about 25%, which means more people are surviving cancer and living longer after being diagnosed with cancer,” the White House said in a statement. Despite that advancement, NCI reported the cancer mortality rate is 158.3 per 100,000 men and women per year, indicating a crucial need for continued cancer research and patient advocacy. ONS and its members had a significant role in the first Cancer Moonshot and its mission and will continue to promote pivotal cancer research and advocate for patient-centered care.

“We can do this,” Biden said. “I promise you we can do this. For all those we lost, for all those we miss, we can end cancer as we know it.”


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