Cancer experts reveal Moonshot Initiative ‘wishlist’
Funding for the US Cancer Moonshot may be wobbling around uncertain, but this week advisers to the project laid out a wide-ranging wishlist of research targets.
In a report published September 7, tumour profiling and immunotheraoy treatments are highlighted as two areas with great promise. The expert panel – whose members include leading researchers, physicians and patient advocates – also recommended the creation of a new national database to which cancer patients could submit the genetic profiles of their tumours.
The idea behind the network is to improve physician and research access to tumour data, and to aid in enrolling specific patients for clinical trials. The system would allow patients to ‘pre-register’ for trials when submitting their data, and allow researchers to make broad observations about the genetics of different cancers and the impact of different therapies.
The list also called for research into advanced imaging techniques and drug-delivery systems, and a 3D ‘cancer atlas’ that would map out how tumours interact with neighbouring cells.
Launched in January 2016, the Moonshot is intended to double the pace of US cancer research over the next five years. However, while Congress works on the budget for next year, the project remains in financial limbo. The NIH has requested $680 million dollars for 2017 to drive the moonshot forward, but so far lawmakers have requested more details before they can commit the funds.
If the funds are not forthcoming before Congress sets the 2017 government budget, then full funding may be delayed until 2018. This according to Matt Hourihan, director of research and development budget and policy programme at the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington DC.