- Over 8 in 10 Americans believe a 20% increase in federal funding for cancer research is either appropriate or not enough, suggesting widespread support for cancer initiatives like the Cancer Moonshot, according to a recent STAT-Harvard poll.
- The desire for increased federal funding is bipartisan, with 90% of Democrats and 79% of Republicans expressing support. Additionally, nearly half of the 1,000 Americans polled indicated cancer was the most serious disease in the U.S.
- Democrats and Republicans in Congress do disagree, however, where the money should come from and how to distribute funds. President Obama has proposed a $755 million mandatory funding plan, which would ensure implementation of an annual funding mechanism. Republicans, in contrast, prefer a year-by-year process to determine how much money will be tapped for cancer research.
The Cancer Moonshot 2020 initiative seeks to design, initiate, and complete randomized clinical trials at all stages of cancer in up to 20 tumor types in as many as 20,000 patients in multiple phase 1 to 3 trials by year 2020. The overall focus is on advancing immunotherapy research and breakthroughs. This is an expensive endeavor.
Despite the excitement about the initiative, skepticism remains about whether it is possible to 'end' cancer. In addition, there has been some pushback from public health and cancer advocacy groups, because they feel that the initiative focuses on treatment, at the expense of prevention.
In fact, a recent report from the National Cancer Institute found that overall cancer death rates declined by 1.5 percent per year between 2003 and 2012, mainly because of prevention efforts, increased screening, and earlier diagnosis.
The architects of Cancer Moonshot 2020 are emphatic that prevention is also within the scope of the initiative.