Cancer Moonshot: Biden outlines 5 areas for improvement


In his final report on the Cancer Moonshot initiative, Vice President Joe Biden noted that the program has successfully led to improvements in data sharing and collaboration. But there is more to be done. 

The report (.pdf), posted Monday by the White House, elaborates on future plans for the initiative after Biden leaves office. Cancer Moonshot can continue its work, Biden says, in the following areas:

  • Reinvent the approach to cancer research: Biden calls for increased federal funding for cancer research programs, especially for high-risk, high-reward trials. He also urges the creation of pilot programs to bring research projects to fruition faster, and better public access to publications that release studies.
  • Grow prevention and screening programs: Biden notes that there have been significant technological advances in cancer screening protocols, as new treatments gain steam. However, more work can be done, he says, and investment in early detective programs is key.
  • Include patients in data sharing: Electronic health records and other data sharing options must be patient-centered to be effective, according to the report. Patients must have a clear understanding as to their rights to their healthcare information, too, he says, and they must have the ability to use that information as they choose. He recommends a single location for data that both doctors and patients can access.
  • Expand care access: As research in cancer treatments and other areas continues to expand, it’s key that such progress reaches all areas of the patient population, according to Biden. Providers must better engage communities in prevention best practices and genomics research must investigate the unique needs of underserved populations, according to the report.
  • Use new financial models to tackle rising drug prices: Biden points to this as a solution to improve access as well, according to the report. There must be financial incentives to enhance cooperation and collaboration across the healthcare industry, and Biden called for a national convention to address the rising cost of cancer care and medications.

Cancer Moonshot, Biden says, will continue long after he and President Barack Obama leave the White House. “Like President Kennedy challenged the nation before, let this Cancer Moonshot challenge all of us to think anew about what is possible and end cancer as we know it,” he writes.