Administration relaunches Cancer Moonshot focused on prevention and early detection

Feb. 3, 2022

The Biden Administration has relaunched the Cancer Moonshot — a signature initiative that President Joe Biden first unveiled in 2016 when he was vice president in the Obama Administration.

The specific goals are:

  • Reduce the death rate from cancer by 50% over the next 25 years
  • Improve the experience of patients and families living with and surviving cancer.

“The heightened focus on cancer prevention and screening in the 2022 relaunch of Cancer Moonshot initiative is a clear acknowledgement of the impact our work is having through communities, employers, and families,” Lisa C. Richardson, MD, MPH, Director, CDC Division of Cancer Prevention, said in a statement.

Research and development will still be important. For example, federal agencies will collaborate on efforts to support the development of multi-cancer detection assays, such as biomarker blood tests.

Within those goals, there are seven key areas of focus: emphasizing prevention — such as through screenings or, perhaps, vaccines; diagnosing cancer earlier; addressing disparities in cancer outcomes by emphasizing prevention; figuring out why treatments work in some patients but not others; improving patient navigation services; and learning from patients’ experiences, a senior administration official explained during a call with reporters.

However, there is not an immediate federal funding increase for cancer initiatives beyond what is available from money Congress authorized in 2016, the official said.

The White House plans to lead the Cancer Moonshot through a coordinator located in the Office of the President. The White House also will form a Cancer Cabinet, bringing together departments and agencies throughout the government.

In addition, the National Cancer Institute will spearhead screening efforts, focusing on people who have delayed screenings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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