Is the Cancer Moonshot program at risk under a new administration? Yes and no, says Greg Simon, executive director of the federal White House task force.
The task force's term comes to an end with the end of the Obama administration. But "the agency initiatives begun under the task force will continue into the next administration, led by career officials with existing budgets and commitments," he says in a Q&A with the Precision Medicine World Congress ahead of its annual gathering in Silicon Valley on January 23-25.
For example, the Blood Profiling Atlas project is led by the private sector with involvement from government agencies such as Defense and FDA. That will continue unaffected by the change of administration.
"Leadership of the agency efforts in the new administration and the extension of the formal Cancer Moonshot program in the new administration are yet to be addressed by the Trump transition," Simon says.
"But the key aspect of the Cancer Moonshot is that it is no longer just a government program, it is a movement. Communities, organizations, companies, patients, and researchers have taken up the challenge of the Cancer Moonshot with a vengeance that will lead to accelerating progress in understanding and treating the many variations of this disease."
In fact, the task force will have already launched several of its efforts—with a focus on rapid data-sharing, healthcare information technology and tech innovations and accelerated biomedical research—by the end of the Obama administration.
"These efforts leverage talent and expertise across disciplines, sectors, and borders and ensure rapid dissemination of information to the broader cancer research and care community to accelerate progress," Simon says.
Simon leaves his post on January 19; he'll work in some capacity with outgoing Vice President Joe Biden to support the Moonshot initiative.
Trump's transition team hasn't yet discussed whether the new administration will continue the formal program.