Hope for Rare Cancers with the Moonshot Program

by Emily Walsh, an advocate of the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance

January 12th marks the one year anniversary since the start of the Cancer Moonshot Initiative under President Obama and headed by Vice President Joseph Biden. Similar to the “moonshot” that put a man on the moon in 1969, this plan hopes to achieve the seemingly insurmountable by finding a cure for cancer by the year 2020.

Since it was announced, companies and governmental organizations around the country have begun to form partnerships that will be critical to the Cancer Moonshot in the years to come. In September, the Blue Ribbon Panel, a group formed from industry professionals including cancer research, doctors, and patient advocates from both sides of the red tape came together and released their guidelines for the Cancer Moonshot. Their recommendations will pave the way for this initiative moving forward, and rare cancers like mesothelioma stand to benefit more than they usually would.

With an increased focus on immunotherapy, those who suffer from rare cancers that don’t typically react as favorably to traditional treatments will have more windows of opportunity to not only help themselves, but help others. As it stands, more funding for research, and volunteers for clinical trials are critical. Without the cross-organization improvements in communication fostered by the moonshot, this likely wouldn’t be possible.

Already, $4.8 billion has been promised over the next ten years for the National Institutes of Health, much of which will help support the drive for high-risk high-reward cancer research. As a rare disease, mesothelioma receives very little funding. Currently, 95% of rare diseases have no FDA approved treatment or cure. Any cancer, rare or common, stands to gain just as much from the continual support and drive of the Cancer Moonshot Initiative.

We look forward to what 2017 will bring for cancer patients and their families.

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The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance is dedicated to sharing valid and up-to-date information with those whose lives have been affected by all types of cancer. Learn more about cancer treatments and potential advancements at their site here.