Cancer Moonshot℠ Blue Ribbon Panel
The Cancer Moonshot Task Force was directed to consult with external experts from relevant scientific sectors, including the presidentially appointed National Cancer Advisory Board (NCAB). A Blue Ribbon Panel (BRP) of scientific experts was created to advise the NCAB.
Panel Process and Milestones
The BRP members were announced on April 4, 2016, and the first (virtual) meeting took place on April 11. At this meeting the members agreed to establish seven working groups to focus on major topic areas. The working group members were announced on May 2, and the groups met frequently until mid-July. In addition, the BRP met several more times—in person on April 18 and July 20, and virtually on July 13.
The working groups began with broad discussions of the state of the field for their respective topics and considered ideas from the members and the community at large. The panel considered more than 1,600 ideas submitted by the broader cancer community through a dedicated website, email, and other routes. Some working groups created subgroups with focused expertise in particular areas to carefully craft their recommendations. As the working groups narrowed in on their specific recommendations, the chairs of multiple groups also met to discuss cross-cutting themes and to merge similar topics into joint recommendations.
The BRP reviewed the working groups’ draft recommendations at its June 13 meeting and reviewed their final recommendations at its July 20 (in-person) meeting. The BRP presented a final report to the NCAB in September 2016.
Blue Ribbon Panel Report
The BRP report describes 10 transformative research recommendations for achieving the Cancer Moonshot's ambitious goal of making a decade's worth of progress in cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment in just 5 years. Download the complete report.
A. Establish a network for direct patient involvement
Engage patients to contribute their comprehensive tumor profile data to expand knowledge about what therapies work, in whom, and in which types of cancer.
B. Create a translational science network devoted exclusively to immunotherapy
Establish a cancer immunotherapy network to discover why immunotherapy is effective in some patients but not in others.
C. Develop ways to overcome cancer’s resistance to therapy
Identify therapeutic targets to overcome drug resistance through studies that determine the mechanisms that lead cancer cells to become resistant to previously effective treatments.
D. Build a National Cancer Data Ecosystem
Create a national ecosystem for sharing and analyzing cancer data so that researchers, clinicians, and patients will be able to contribute data, which will facilitate efficient data analysis.
E. Intensify research on the major drivers of childhood cancers
Improve our understanding of fusion oncoproteins in pediatric cancer and use new preclinical models to develop inhibitors that target them.
F. Minimize cancer treatment’s debilitating side effects
Accelerate the development of guidelines for routine monitoring and management of patient-reported symptoms to minimize debilitating side effects of cancer and its treatment.
G. Expand use of proven cancer prevention and early detection strategies
Reduce cancer risk and cancer health disparities through approaches in development, testing, and broad adoption of proven prevention strategies.
H. Mine past patient data to predict future patient outcomes
Predict response to standard treatments through retrospective analysis of patient specimens.
I. Develop a 3-D cancer atlas
Create dynamic 3-D maps of human tumor evolution to document the genetic lesions and cellular interactions of each tumor as it evolves from a precancerous lesion to advanced cancer.
J. Develop new cancer technologies
Develop new enabling cancer technologies to characterize tumors and test therapies.
The recommendations described in the BRP report emerged from the reports of the BRP’s seven working groups. These reports discuss the groups’ recommendations in detail:
- Tumor Evolution and Progression Working Group Report
- Clinical Trials Working Group Report
- Precision Prevention and Early Detection Working Group Report
- Pediatric Cancer Working Group Report
- Enhanced Data Sharing Working Group Report
- Cancer Immunology Working Group Report
- Implementation Science Working Group Report
These working group reports outline a total of 13 recommendations, which form the basis for NCI’s consideration of implementation. (A 14th recommendation was converted into a demonstration project.) For the purposes of the report submitted to the NCAB, the 13 recommendations were combined into 10 as follows:
- The Pediatric Cancer and Tumor Evolution and Progression working groups jointly recommended efforts to identify new therapeutic targets to overcome cancer resistance. (This joint idea is included in both working group reports.)
- The Tumor Evolution and Progression, Cancer Immunology, and Precision Prevention and Early Detection working groups all proposed generation of human atlases of cancer.
- Both the Precision Prevention and Early Detection and Implementation Science working groups focused on the importance of screening.
- Development of technologies cited throughout the recommendations was combined into a single recommendation.
Also available is a report about the public idea submission site, which received more than 1,600 ideas and comments that were forwarded to the BRP for consideration.