Sep 13, 2016 1:00 AM

graphic for the cancer moonshot blue ribbon report

On September 7, 2016, National Cancer Institute (NCI) Acting Director Douglas Lowy, MD, accepted the recommendations of the Cancer Moonshot Blue Ribbon Panel (BRP) on a set of scientific approaches to accelerate progress in cancer research. An overview of the report was published in the journal Science.

Mary Beckerle, PhD, CEO of Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI), serves on the BRP and is co-chair of the Precision Prevention and Early Detection working group. “We know that about half of all cancers could be prevented,” said Dr. Beckerle. “But right now, we are not able to capitalize on the wealth of information that can allow us to identify the people who could most benefit from prevention strategies.”

Close to 1 million people in the U.S. may have Lynch syndrome, an inherited disorder that increases the risk of many types of cancer, without knowing it.

The BRP also announced three demonstration projects. One project proposes to increase genetic testing in people diagnosed with colon cancer to see if their condition is due to Lynch syndrome. Lynch syndrome is an inherited disorder that increases the risk of many types of cancer, particularly colon cancer. Close to 1 million people in the United States may have the disorder and not be aware of it. If Lynch syndrome is found, the family members of those patients could be screened for colon cancer so that doctors can find and remove precancerous polyps. Researchers at HCI at the University of Utah played a key role in establishing guidelines for genetic testing and management of Lynch syndrome and other hereditary gastrointestinal cancers.

“The bold but feasible cross-cutting initiatives in this report will improve outcomes for patients with cancer, prevent cancer, and increase our understanding of cancer,” said Dr. Lowy. “NCI stands ready to accelerate cancer research in the critical areas identified by the Blue Ribbon Panel.”

“Thanks to the coalescence of new scientific insights and technological innovations, cancer research is poised to make unprecedented advances,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD. “The approaches identified by the Blue Ribbon Panel offer exceptional promise in tipping the odds in favor of cancer patients.”

“NCI greatly appreciates Vice President Biden’s leadership of and passion for the Cancer Moonshot,” said Dr. Lowy. “The Vice President has galvanized the community to move forward so we can greatly improve our ability to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer. The efforts of the BRP and working group members have been extraordinary, and I thank them for their time, energy and ideas. I am confident that the cancer community will build on this effort and seize this unprecedented opportunity to accelerate progress.”

cancer moonshot cancer research colorectal cancer genetics Cancer Center Research Program Cell Response and Regulation

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