National Cancer Moonshot

Reflections on the new presidential initiative by a cancer nurse

National Cancer MoonshotAt the State of the Union Address in January, President Obama shot out a rocket concerning cancer research and finding a cure by 2020. This “moonshot” initiative is being led by Vice President Biden, who recently lost a son to glioblastoma, a type of brain cancer.

The National Institutes of Health will receive additional funding to bring its budget up to $2 billion. The National Cancer Institute will receive an additional $264 million towards its 2016 budget.  WOW!

The thinking behind this generous funding is that it will allow scientists the opportunity to pursue potential avenues that might lead to a cure for cancer. These avenues might not otherwise have been pursued due to lack of funds.

Immunotherapy and precision medicine are two areas of research that are part of this focus. They have been very active and promising research themes over the past several years, including here at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Precision medicine uses the patient’s genes or genetic makeup, to tailor specific treatment plans that will exactly fit the patients’ type of cancer. The Michigan Center for Translational Pathology is a fascinating example of how this research advances the science of precision medicine.

Immunotherapy has also been heavily researched. We have studies for ovarian cancer, breast cancer, brain and spinal cord tumors, as well as head and neck cancer using immunotherapy drugs.  While these are still in the research stages, the additional funding offered through the new moonshot initiative will certainly help with additional trials in this area.

Whether the National Cancer Moonshot proves to be a long shot, a scatter shot or a bull’s-eye, one thing is for certain: We are living in a very exciting era for cancer research, and for progress toward curing more people who have the many diseases we collectively call cancer.

Take the next step:

  • Learn how clinical science research programs at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center are changing and improving treatments for patients through research and clinical trials.
  • Find out how stem cell research at the Cancer Center, and its related clinical trials, are already helping patients.
  • Listen to research Arul M. Chinnaiyan, M.D., Ph.D., talk about the future of personalized medicine.
  • There are hundreds of clinical trials enrolling new patients at the Cancer Center. Check out our list, organized by condition.
  • Still have questions? Call the nurses at the University of Michigan Cancer AnswerLine™. They can help patients or their loved ones find a clinical trial or provide insights into the newest and latest cancer treatments. Feel free to call at 800-865-1125 or send an e-mail.

vanessa thumbnailThe Cancer AnswerLine™ nurses are experienced in oncology care, including helping patients and their families who have questions about cancer. These registered oncology nurses are available by calling 800-865-1125 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Your call is always free and confidential.



Cancer-center-informal-vertical-sig-150x150The University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center’s 1,000 doctors, nurses, care givers and researchers are united by one thought: to deliver the highest quality, compassionate care while working to conquer cancer through innovation and collaboration. The center is among the top-ranked national cancer programs, and #1 in Michigan according to U.S. News & World Report. Our multidisciplinary clinics offer one-stop access to teams of specialists for personalized treatment plans, part of the ideal patient care experience. Patients also benefit through access to promising new cancer therapies.