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Cancer Moonshot Moves Forward, Bringing Funding Opportunities for Researchers

, by Douglas R. Lowy, M.D.

Cancer Moonshot

The 21st Century Cures Act, which was signed into law in December 2016, authorizes $1.8 billion over 7 years to fund the Beau Biden Cancer Moonshot℠, $300 million of which is available in Fiscal Year 2017.

These funds enable NCI to begin, this fiscal year, implementing cancer research initiatives that align with the goals outlined in last fall’s report from the Cancer Moonshot Blue Ribbon Panel (BRP) and to rapidly build on progress that NCI and its many research partners have achieved over the years.

I am grateful for the widespread, continuing, bipartisan support for cancer research, as demonstrated by the enactment of this legislation, and the additional resources it will provide to accelerate the priority areas identified in the BRP report.

Following receipt of the BRP report, NCI began to build a strategy for implementing the recommendations included in the report. Even before the Cures Act was passed, we took the preliminary step of identifying funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) from within NCI’s extensive funding portfolio that aligned with the Cancer Moonshot’s goals.

To simplify the process of searching and applying for funding opportunities to support Moonshot-related research, we published these FOAs on the NCI website in December. These FOAs represented the first of a growing list of Cancer Moonshot funding opportunities for researchers.

Just this past week, NCI added additional FOAs aligned with the goals of the Cancer Moonshot. The full list of FOAs in the Moonshot portfolio can be found on NCI's Cancer Moonshot website and at

Planning for implementation of longer-term Moonshot-related scientific initiatives is also underway, and we look forward to engaging our extramural colleagues in this process. As part of this effort, we have established implementation teams aligned with the BRP recommendations. These teams include scientists from NCI and the broader research community, and experts from several other NIH institutes and centers.

The implementation teams are considering multiple ways to fund the best science, including grants, supplements, and other mechanisms, and, where appropriate, forming partnerships with foundations, academia, and the private sector. In addition, we have been consulting with our advisory boards and engaging the research community and other stakeholders to help prioritize Cancer Moonshot-related research activities.

NCI Principal Deputy Director Dr. Douglas R. Lowy

Credit: National Cancer Institute


I look forward to keeping the cancer community up to date on the implementation teams’ progress.

I am very optimistic that the support provided by this legislation, and the ongoing collaborative efforts of the cancer community on so many different fronts, will enhance our ability to make great strides in transforming the future of cancer research and patient care.

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