Today, the Cancer Moonshot Blue Ribbon Panel, comprised of 28 world-class leaders from science, research, and patient advocacy, including National Brain Tumor Society Chief Executive Officer David Arons, released its report and recommendations for scientific opportunities to meet the Vice President’s Cancer Initiative’s goal of making a decade’s worth of progress against cancers in the next five years.
The Blue Ribbon Panel presented its report, which was authored at the request of the Vice President, at a meeting of the President’s National Cancer Advisory Board (NCAB). The NCAB is a board of 18 members appointed by the President of the Unites States to advise the director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The report was considered and accepted by the NCAB with revisions that reflect NCAB’s discussion. Subsequently, the Director of the NCI, Dr. Doug Lowy, also accepted the recommendations, and will now share the report with the Cancer Moonshot Task Force.
David F. Arons, JD, Chief Executive Officer of the National Brain Tumor Society (NBTS), today issued the following statement regarding the release of the Blue Ribbon Panel’s report and recommendations. The full report can be found at www.cancer.gov/BRP and a press release from the NCI here.
As a member of the Blue Ribbon Panel, and chief executive officer of a leading cancer patient advocacy organization, I believe the recommendations presented today to the National Cancer Advisory Board include a number of ideas that are truly transformative and would accelerate cancer research in a manner that is consistent with the goals of Vice President’s Cancer Initiative – also known as the Cancer Moonshot. I am proud to have served on the Blue Ribbon Panel, and excited that the cancer community has come together and put forth 10 powerful ideas that could lead to significant advances in our understanding of cancers how to treat these diseases.
Specifically, the recommendations set-forth have important implications and applications for the brain tumor community and brain tumor research, respectively. Collectively, the recommendations prioritized a number of areas critical to future brain tumor drug discovery and development, including engaging and involving patients more deeply in the research process, as well as exploiting emerging technologies to improve how brain tumors are studied, monitored, and potential new treatments are evaluated and utilized. Further, as a member of the improving clinical trials working group, I was able to join a group of outstanding scientists, led by the extraordinary leadership of Drs. Charles Sawyers and Mitch Berger, as well as other patient advocates to develop recommendations that, if implemented will improve clinical research – the only way new treatments get investigated and approved – in cancer, and certainly in brain tumors.
It was an honor to participate in this historic effort. It was equally as encouraging to experience how comprehensive and collaborative the process of producing this report was, with input gathered through not only the 28 members of the Blue Ribbon Panel, but seven working groups that involved additional members, along with the more than 1,600 ideas considered through submissions from the greater cancer community. As a patient advocate on the Panel, my voice and experience was welcomed and included throughout the process. The Chairs of the Blue Ribbon Panel – Drs. Dinah Singer, Elizabeth Jaffee, and Tyler Jacks – were inclusive and facilitative. Throughout the process it was clear the leadership of this initiative was genuinely conscious of ensuring that the patient perspective was highlighted and that the recommendations prioritized fast-tracking “the most promising scientific and clinical developments to benefit patients in the near term.”
As the report stated, I believe this is an “enormous, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the cancer community and our nation to come together around a single disease that touches everyone” and “unleash new cancer breakthroughs” if the recommendations are implemented.
The Cancer Moonshot’s Blue Ribbon Panel