CancerMoonShot2020: "Perhaps the most important scientific initiative undertaken in human history"

New collaboration announced to use precision medicine techniques to cure cancer



Large pharma and biotech firms, a major health insurance company, a Fortune 50 company*, academic researchers and community oncologists are all teaming up to launch the CancerMoonShot2020 initiative. In an email, Dr. Robert Goldberg, the co-founder and vice president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest declares that it is "perhaps the most important scientific initiative undertaken in human history." Wow.

The new coalition seeks to harness rapidly evolving precision medicine techniques to diagnose, treat, and manage 20 different tumor types. Lots of compounds have been developed that can attack tumors, but using them one at time allows tumors to evolve so that they no longer remain effective in a patient and the cancer proliferates. Hitting tumors with various combinations of compounds could control and even destroy them by preventing this kind of evolutionary escape. The press release from the new National Immunotherapy Coalition notes:

The QUILT (QUantitative Integrative Lifelong Trial) program is designed to harness and orchestrate all the elements of the immune system (including dendritic cell, T cell and NK cell therapies) by testing novel combinations of vaccines, cell-based immunotherapy, metronomic chemotherapy, low dose radiotherapy and immunomodulators -- including check point inhibitors-- in patients who have undergone next generation whole genome, transcriptome and quantitative proteomic analysis, with the goal of achieving durable, long-lasting remission for patients with cancer. …

The mission of the Cancer MoonShot 2020 Program is to rapidly enroll and complete randomized Phase 2 clinical trials to validate the potential of panomic (whole genome, transcriptome and proteomic) analyses and to evaluate novel combination immunotherapies as the next generation standard of care. This coalition combines the efforts not only of major academic centers but also the community oncologists, enabling accelerated recruitment of patients to multiple Phase II trials. Utilizing a secure cloud-based infrastructure to integrate and enable the participation of both major academic and community oncologists at a national scale, the goal is to complete randomized clinical trials in patients with cancer at all stages of disease, across up to 20 tumor types in 20,000 patients within the next 36 months. By comparing standards of care to the next paradigm of less toxic immunotherapy combination therapy, the findings of these in the randomized QUILT Program will inform the design of Phase 3 registration trials, with the goal of bringing transformative advances in combination immunotherapies to cancer patients by 2020.

Here's hoping that Goldberg is even half right.

*My wife is a financial advisor with Merrill Lynch, a subsidiary of the Bank of America which is participating in the new coalition. I hope that we won't have need of these new therapies any time soon.

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48 responses to “CancerMoonShot2020: "Perhaps the most important scientific initiative undertaken in human history"

  1. I don't like it. Sounds like they're preying on people desperate for a treatment option with the promise of a treatment option. The FDA better be looking into this.

    1. He's risen from the dead. Someone check and see if Bowie is back.

  2. They should take all the money they are going to spend on the 'moonshot' and offer it up as an X-Prixe prize.

    1. This is money well spent. It's at least a good beginning. If I were super rich, this is the kind of stuff I would be putting my money into. Bowie was rich as fuck, yet cancer still got him.

      In order to find a cure for cancer, what they will have to do is to, for each specific cancer type, map out the whole metabolic network and the transcription network, and then find a way to cut off each metabolic pathway that enables the cancer cells to proliferate. This is a good start.

  3. a secure cloud-based infrastructure

    That already suggests an element of magical thinking.

    1. It's smart thinking. This way the data isn't owned by them, it's owned by the cloud!

      1. And those clouds aren't connected to the intertoobz or anything. They're magical! You can't hack magical! I mean, you know if the cloud was actually on servers and stuff like regular storage... And if you talk about 'the cloud' in a meeting with other executives, it sounds too cool, you can tell by all the 'oohs' and 'aahs'. Oooh, the cloud! He's so smart, VP material for sure!

  4. I will say this, and you can call me a kook if you want, but I think incidences - incidents - no, incidences of strange cancers is on the rise. Anecdotally speaking (the only way I know to speak), I've seen several acquaintances and family members recently afflicted with the Big C of a respective type inconsistent with their risk factors.

    1. Well, there's a hell of a lot more humans on the planet right now, so that naturally means more genetic mutations going on, right? And those humans are exposed to an ever increasing number of substances. I don't know. Cancer CAN be cured, I just don't see any big hurry to do it. Better to just irradiate the fuck out of people and nearly kill them with that. Those other cells and tissues are just collateral damage! That's profitable and less people to survive. You start curing people and WTF? You out to prove Malthus right or something, you rat fucking bagger?

      1. "Cancer CAN be cured, I just don't see any big hurry to do it."

        Well get on it genius. Stop typing and start curing.

        "Better to just irradiate the fuck out of people and nearly kill them with that. Those other cells and tissues are just collateral damage! "

        Is this a fucking joke? I think the people who research this have taken side effects into account. Radiation and chemo aren't used because they don't work.

        1. This comment explains a lot.

          I will quit ragging on you about immigration. There is no honor in besting a fool.

          1. Give him a break. What I said flew right over his head.

            1. Ah so it is a joke, just not a very well put together one.

              1. Over simplification, what is that? I actually said several different things with several different implications. You apparently got none of it. But that's ok. Just forget about it, I think that's best.

          2. But where will I hear fairytales about Swedish rape epidemics and The Eurabia Caliphate?

    2. respective type inconsistent with their risk factors.

      It's almost like the risk factors are so much hype.

    3. FoE: You know that book I keep urging people to buy? I note:

      There's only one problem?there is no growing cancer epidemic. As the number of man-made chemicals has proliferated, your chances of dying of the disease have been dropping for more than four decades. In fact, not only have cancer death rates been declining significantly, age-adjusted cancer incidence rates have been falling for nearly two decades. That is, of the number of Americans in nearly any age group, fewer are actually coming down with cancer. It is good news that modern medicine has increased the five-year survival rates of cancer patients from 50 percent in the 1970s to 68 percent today. What is more remarkable is that the incidence of cancer has been falling about 0.6 percent per year since 1994. That may not sound like much, but as Dr. John Seffrin, CEO of the American Cancer Society, explains, "Because the rate continues to drop, it means that in recent years, about 100,000 people each year who would have died had cancer rates not declined are living to celebrate another birthday."

      1. FoE: Also: Even the US National Cancer Institute denies that there is a "cancer epidemic." As the institute explains, the common misconception that we are experiencing a "cancer epidemic" stems largely from sensationalized media reports. "This only appears to be the case because the number of new cancer cases reported is rising as the population is both expanding and aging. Older people are more likely to develop cancer," notes the institute. "So as more and more members of a 75-million-strong 'baby-boomer' cohort begin shifting en masse to older, more cancer-prone ages, the number of new cancer cases is expected to increase in the next several decades."

        If you are male in the United States your lifetime risk of develop- ing cancer is approximately 1 in 2, and your risk of dying of cancer is 1in 4. If you are female your lifetime risk of contracting cancer is 1 in 3, and your risk of dying of malignancy is 1in 5. Is an especially toxic environment responsible for these grim statistics? Actually, no. What these statistics signal is that you are likely to live a long time. If you live long enough you will get cancer.

        1. Be that as it may, I stand by my unfounded belief that strange cancers suddenly abound. Cancer rates may be standing pat or even falling, but I seem to be told suddenly of a number of people getting types of cancer that normally afflict those leading a different lifestyle (e.g. lung cancer in nonsmokers or maxillary carcinoma in those who don't use tobacco or alcohol).

          I just want to be on record in case it's happening. And if it's not, who's going to remember this?

          1. We just need to ban cancer until we figure out what's going on

          2. "And if it's not, who's going to remember this?"

            Anyone who can do a web search?


        2. It's been a few years since I last saw the articles, but is there still an inverse correlation between cancer recognition and treatment in the US (thinking before obamacare) and the diagnosis/treatment/survival rates in the UK under the NHS and similar national systems?

  5. Most of my clients are in medical research. I don't even feel like commenting on this, the entire field is just a fucking clusterfuck. They'll be lucky to ever get anything done outside of compliance with regulation.

    1. Are you sure? Many "progressives" tell me that our medical and health sector is a system of wildly unregulated, laissez-faire, Wild West capitalism where biotech companies are allowed to do literally anything they want. Kind of like how banking is unregulated, apparently.

      1. Well, your progressive friends have obviously never been anyway near any medical research facilities. Are they talking about people doing independent research in their basement or garage? Because if not, they are too full of shit. You have to go through a fucking mountain of red tape to even get approval to do research, ESPECIALLY if that research involves human subjects. And after that research goes on for years, while you continue to be subjected to a growing mountain of regulations and then you have a new drug or device you want to market? That's when the real fun starts. And it will be YEARS before it's approved, if ever.

      2. Many "progressives" tell me that our medical and health sector is a system of wildly unregulated, laissez-faire, Wild West capitalism where biotech companies are allowed to do literally anything they want. Kind of like how banking is unregulated, apparently.

        The worst of it is many of the people who work in these fields think the same things. It's just stunning how ignorant they are. You spend most of your day engaged in procedures required by statute, regulation, or case law and think that the government has too light of a touch.

        1. A lot of them don't like it one bit. In fact, they will complain about it more than you or I. But they will keep voting for more of it because they're afraid of two things. Hillbillies in fly over country that they do not understand and who have scary guns. And government funding drying up. I know, I work with these people.

          1. In some sense, the world is too safe. They're not likely to ever be mugged or go hungry. So what they fear more than all is the loss of status.

            1. "the world" here being a colloquialism for "the environs such people inhabit" and not literally "the planet Earth and all of its inhabitants"

            2. what they fear more than all is the loss of status

              Well, that's certainly true. For many of them, their huge and fragile egos would make it hard for them to survive such a cataclysm.

  6. Like Hyp, I have concerns that this is beyond 'economies of scale' into 'way too big to work'.
    (picking of the nit; check the credit on the image)

  7. *My wife is a financial advisor with Merrill Lynch, a subsidiary of the Bank of America which is participating in the new coalition. I hope that we won't have need of these new therapies any time soon.

    Ah, the RB disclosure. Seems like we haven't seen as many of those recently.

  8. Cancer Moon Shot?

    So, I guess the plan is to develop a cure for cancer, use it for a few years, and then quit?

  9. Bowie's haunting final album hints at death

    I'm no expert on determining how the artists broad strokes or use of light gives us insight into his inner self, but uhh, my understanding is that Bowie's album was purposely timed to be released at his death-- since he was pretty much perfectly aware of his mortality due to his cancer.

    In a staggering stroke of timing, Bowie released an album, ? (pronounced "Blackstar"), on his 69th birthday Friday -- two days before he died. It's dangerous to assign interpretations to works by artists as complex and intelligent as Bowie, but a listen to the jazz-inflected album, which topped the iTunes charts Monday, reveals a man who appears to be grappling with his own mortality.

      1. Screaming Lord Byron bites the dust.

      2. BBC this morning - "Did David Bowie sing his own epitaph?"

      3. Bowie, Bowie, Bowie.


        1. RIP and thank you to both...

  10. Will cannabinoids be included in the effort?

  11. Hi.I was diagnozed w cervical cancer early november 2015,stage 2-3,to think of treatment nightmare,I attacked cancer w alkaline diet it woke up as it moved i screamed in pain so it fought back and kicked my ass i was scared to eat anything it likes ,so im working with alkaline diet and vitamins,along with pains i had bleeding after the parasite moved pissed and hurt me im taking vitamins and want to workout and beat cancer.I wish,I could join a clinical study yet no luck it seems...Be strong and optimistic Amen:-).

  12. The quoted paragraphs were really wordy. Basically they take a DNA sample from the patient's healthy tissue and another from cancerous tissue. Run a full analysis on both and look for the variances. Those variances hopefully reveal how the cancer can be killed without killing the patient - or even making him/her particularly sick with side affects.

  13. Most high-end labs offer something like this:

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