Center Calling Shot To Put An End To Cancer
September 21, 2012

MD Anderson Moon Shots To Help Put An End To Cancer

Lee Rannals for — Your Universe Online

Fifty years after President John F. Kennedy made the call to put an American on the moon before the end of the decade, Houston's MD Anderson Cancer Center is making the call to significantly reduce the number of deaths from cancers by the end of the decade.

The center is launching its "Moon Shots Program" as a way to rally up researchers, and put an end to cancer.

"Inspired by America´s drive generations ago to put a man on the moon, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center has launched an ambitious and comprehensive action plan, called the Moon Shots Program, to make a giant leap for patients — to dramatically accelerate the pace of converting scientific discoveries into clinical advances that reduce cancer deaths," the center wrote on the program´s website.

MD Anderson Cancer Center said that new technology and advanced scientific knowledge is giving new hope for finding cures for cancer.

The Moon Shots Program will include six teams that will demonstrate short-term improvement and major, long-range impact for specific cancers, including cancer prevention, early detection, treatment and survival.

The program will be targeting eight cancers including breast, ovarian, leukemia, lung, melanoma and prostate.

“The Moon Shots Program holds the potential for a new approach to research that eventually can be applied to all cancers, and even to other chronic diseases,” Dr. Ronald DePinho, president of the center, said in a statement. “History has taught us that if we put our minds to a task, the human spirit will prevail. We must do this — humanity is depending on all of us.”

The cancer center will be backing up this project with a $3 billion investment over the next decade. It said each moon shot team will receive funding and other resources needed for research ideas, ranging from basic research and clinical trials, to behavioral interventions and public policy initiatives.

DePinho said they will be combining the knowledge from treating over 100,000 patients each year, with the skills of thousands of doctors and researchers to improve cancer detection, treatment and survival rates, as well as prevention.

“Humanity urgently needs bold action to defeat cancer. I believe that we have many of the tools we need to pick the fight of the 21st century," he said in a statement. "Let´s focus our energies on approaching cancer comprehensively and systematically, with the precision of an engineer, always asking ... ℠What can we do to directly impact patients?´”

Frank McCormick, Ph.D., director of the University of California, San Francisco Cancer Center and president of the American Association for Cancer Research, said nothing of this magnitude has ever been attempted by a single academic medical institution before.

“Moon shots take MD Anderson´s deep bench of multidisciplinary research and patient care resources and offer a collective vision on moving cancer research forward," McCormick said in a statement. “The process of bringing this amount of horsepower together in such a focused manner is not normally seen in academic medicine and is valuable in and of itself.”

The center said the implementation of the program will begin in February 2013, and is expected to reach full stride by mid-2013.