Biden unveils road map for his ‘moonshot’ against cancer But the researchers acknowledged that they had a ways to go. Even the most promising therapies, they said, might work in only one-third of patients. The challenge now is to figure out how to make it work for everyone else. They’re still deciphering whom the therapy will help, how to combine it with standard treatments and how much of a dose to give.Biden came to Penn three months after he first called for a moonshot to end the disease, a statement he made when he announced he would not run for president in 2016.In the last few months, Biden has met with 200 researchers, advocates, and other figures involved in the cancer fight, according to his aides. He hasn’t gotten to the nitty-gritty of explaining exactly what he’ll do during his last year in office, but he has emphasized the need for greater investment in cancer research, and a cultural shift that encourages collaboration among scientists.Researchers who met with the vice president’s staff last week said they lobbied for a national open-data initiative and for the federal government to spend more money on gene sequencing, saying those are obvious steps that could be taken in the short term.Biden picked Penn for his first major public event after the State of the Union because of the school’s work on immunotherapy, according to his staff. Beau also earned his undergraduate degree here, as Biden pointed out during Friday’s event.Dr. Carl June and other top researchers here have produced breakthroughs in treating advanced blood cancers with the therapy, and several faculty members have since started a pharmaceutical company to develop more.In the days leading up to Biden’s visit, Penn researchers were clearly enthused by the tacit endorsement of the vice president, but also cognizant of the expectations it brings. Some in the field have criticized Biden and Obama for saying they want to “cure” or “end” cancer, and previous high-minded efforts haven’t produced the panacea that such rhetoric would suggest.Biden acknowledged those concerns Friday, saying at one point that he almost wished he “hadn’t called it a moonshot.” But he argued that the potential is there for transformative progress — and he said he would dedicate the rest of his life to it. Biden, shown with NIH Director Francis Collins, wants the government to be “partners, not impediments.” Joseph Kaczmarek/AP By Dylan Scott Jan. 15, 2016 Reprints A presidential cancer moonshot (again)Volume 90%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard ShortcutsEnabledDisabledPlay/PauseSPACEIncrease Volume↑Decrease Volume↓Seek Forward→Seek Backward←Captions On/OffcFullscreen/Exit FullscreenfMute/UnmutemSeek %0-9 facebook twitter Email Linkhttps://www.statnews.com/2016/01/15/biden-cancer-task-force/?jwsource=clCopied EmbedCopiedLive00:0001:1001:10 Presidents have been promising to cure cancer for 45 years, but cancer is still very much with us. Alex Hogan/STAT “My commitment is not for just the next 12 months,” he said. “I plan on doing this for the rest of my life.”Friday’s event was the kickoff for Biden’s public work on the cancer effort. He’s also heading to Davos, Switzerland on Sunday to discuss the latest cancer research developments with international experts. Related: PoliticsBiden to lead cancer task force in bid for ‘phenomenal’ progress Tags cancerJoe Bidenmoonshotpolicy Related: PHILADELPHIA – Joe Biden’s cancer moonshot is starting to take shape.President Obama will soon order an executive action creating a task force, led by Biden and putting every agency in the federal government at his disposal, the vice president said Friday at the University of Pennsylvania. It was the first public event Biden has held since Obama announced a national commitment to end cancer in his State of the Union address and placed Biden in charge.“We can change the life circumstances of millions of people around the world,” Biden said, pounding the table. He was joined by some of Penn Medicine’s leading cancer researchers in a small room at the school’s huge medical complex. “This is the place the United States can make a contribution that exceeds anything we’ve done so far for humanity.”advertisement 7 ways to tell if ‘cancer moonshot’ is legit, or political rhetoric Biden emphasized that this was not some massive new federal program. Instead, he saw the task force’s role as figuring out how the government “can be partners, not impediments.”But Biden also made it clear how much the effort means to him after the death of his son, Beau, from brain cancer last year. And he said his work on cancer isn’t going to end when he leaves office next January.advertisement A major theme of the roundtable discussion that Biden led with a dozen researchers, which lasted more than an hour, was his desire to bridge gaps between different research institutions, as well as the pharmaceutical industry.Researchers urged the vice president to press the drug companies to make their clinical trial data more readily available to others. They also want him to encourage them to allow their drugs to be used in combination with products from other companies in trials.“That could be a huge contribution of this venture, to get that data out there,” said Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, who sat beside Biden during the event.The NIH, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Department of Defense are some of the agencies that Biden said would be crucial to the effort. On the data front, the National Cancer Institute expects to launch its Genomic Data Commons — a project to gather and distribute cancer genomics data — in the next six months, Dr. Douglas Lowy, NCI’s acting director, said during the meeting.Biden spoke more than once about the need to sell the public on investments like fiberoptic cables that can carry the huge datasets that researchers say will help them make discoveries faster. One common refrain he said he heard when talking with people about big data was: “What the hell does that have to do with fighting cancer?”As for treatment, the researchers spoke of the promise of immunotherapy, which uses the human immune system to fight cancer cells — including for glioblastoma, the cancer that took Beau’s life. In the audience was Emily Whitehead, a young girl who was cured of her leukemia by the therapy.In the longer term, 10 years from now, the researchers said they hope to be able to create a cancer vaccine that would help prevent and stop the mutations that become cancer in the first place.“You’re on the cusp of some phenomenal breakthroughs,” Biden said, calling it “an inflection point” for treatment, a favored phrase among researchers.
Let’s be honest. There’s not that much money in the moonshot. I just don’t think it is going to have that big an impact. We’ve already got a lot going on in cancer. More than 800 drugs are in cancer clinical trials. That’s really where we should be focused.Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation:The cancer moonshot evokes a very positive time in American history, a time when we were able to harness our collective will and brainpower and resources.We have so much information that is not being harnessed. A lot of the progress will be accelerated by better sharing of information.One thing I hope the moonshot will address is the racial disparities that exist in cancer care: lack of access to insurance, which then leads to later diagnoses; the absence of screening; insurance that may prohibit some people from getting the most sophisticated diagnostic tests or treatments. In situations where you can remove some of those disparities, the outcomes are nearly identical, at least between blacks and whites.Eric Lander, president and founding director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard:We aren’t going to be curing cancer in 10 years. But there’s nothing wrong with putting down ambitious markers and organizing our thinking together. The more we ramp up attention on something like cancer, the more creative we’re all going to get.Dawn Laguens, executive vice president and chief experience officer at Planned Parenthood:We need to go after cancer, which has devastated so many lives, so many families. What I would like more resources for — and what we have seen a push for — is the HPV vaccine, which can help prevent a variety of cancers in women and men.Robert Califf, commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration:The FDA will play a huge role in the moonshot.Many of us believe that cancer is at an inflection point right now with the ability to target therapy using genomics and immunotherapy at the same time. The investment of not just money but also breaking down barriers to sharing of information could really make a difference.Joe Biden has the resilience and perseverance to talk to people, and has friends on both sides of the aisle. If a cancer moonshot is ever going to work, this would be the time to do it.When asked about the name cancer moonshot, Califf said “No comment” and walked away.Mark McClellan, professor and director of the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy at Duke University, and former FDA commissioner and administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services:Making progress on diseases like cancer is partly about discovery. More funding for basic research is important, but progress is also about development. Translating from basic science in the lab to reliable, safe, effective treatments is really hard. One thing I’ve noticed over the years with these big initiatives is that they tend to put the money into basic research, which is important, but there should be a complementary component in what I’d call development science, like setting up big data programs using existing systems of care. The FDA sees every day what goes wrong in development programs. It has programs like breakthrough therapy designation, which provide more resources for helping public and private organizations collaborate. So bring in the FDA and think about development, not just basic research. First OpinionHealth experts offer their support for — and skepticism of — the cancer moonshot Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting of the Cancer Moonshot Task Force. Susan Walsh/AP STAT Ezekiel Emanuel, Vice Provost for Global Initiatives and chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania:There are four obvious things to do to improve the health of Americans. One, increase the tax on cigarettes. That’ll do more to bring down cancer than any moonshot because it will prevent cancer rather than spending a lot to treat it. Two, we need to get people to exercise more. Three, we need better diets and a tax on sugary beverages, such the one my adopted hometown of Philadelphia recently passed. We will see what the impact is, but it certainly isn’t going to hurt. Four, take some of the money you’d get from a cigarette or soda tax and invest it in home visits for poor women who are having babies. Every child who has a healthy start is a very huge return on investment; it improves their health and school performance.advertisement [email protected] The National Cancer Moonshot Summit, to be held on Wednesday, is an effort by the White House to promote efforts championed by Vice President Joe Biden to find a cure for cancer. At the same time, dozens of associated regional conferences will take place around the country, bringing together scientists, patients, and health care experts.In advance of the summit, STAT reporters and editors interviewed various individuals in the worlds of science, medicine, and health for a sampling of opinion on Biden’s initiative. They range from skepticism to support.The interviews — some of them lengthy, others conducted on the run — were done at Spotlight Health, part of the Aspen Ideas Festival in Aspen, Colo. The comments have been edited for clarity.advertisement By STAT June 28, 2016 Reprints About the Author Reprints Tags cancerJoe Bidenmoonshot
Politics Tags cancerpolicyWhite House Ellen V. Sigal Carolyn Kaster/AP Since taking office, President Trump has done right by the scientific and patient communities by placing strong leaders at the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health. After a four-month vacancy in the FDA’s top job, Dr. Scott Gottlieb now runs this essential agency, and Dr. Francis Collins is continuing his leadership of the NIH. With these experienced and thoughtful leaders in place, there is reason to be optimistic that the progress promised by the passage of the 21st Century Cures Act in December 2016 will be fully realized.But the president’s newly released budget seems to move in the opposite direction. It would hamstring Collins and Gottlieb in their efforts to protect and improve the lives of Americans and represents a major impediment to bipartisan opportunities to build on the momentum and execute the programs created through Cures Act and the current reauthorization of the Prescription Drug User Fee Act. Unlock this article — plus daily intelligence on Capitol Hill and the life sciences industry — by subscribing to STAT+. First 30 days free. GET STARTED What’s included? By Ellen V. Sigal May 24, 2017 Reprints STAT+ is STAT’s premium subscription service for in-depth biotech, pharma, policy, and life science coverage and analysis. Our award-winning team covers news on Wall Street, policy developments in Washington, early science breakthroughs and clinical trial results, and health care disruption in Silicon Valley and beyond. Daily reporting and analysis The most comprehensive industry coverage from a powerhouse team of reporters Subscriber-only newsletters Daily newsletters to brief you on the most important industry news of the day STAT+ Conversations Weekly opportunities to engage with our reporters and leading industry experts in live video conversations Exclusive industry events Premium access to subscriber-only networking events around the country The best reporters in the industry The most trusted and well-connected newsroom in the health care industry And much more Exclusive interviews with industry leaders, profiles, and premium tools, like our CRISPR Trackr. What is it? GET STARTED About the Author Reprints @CancerResrch Log In | Learn More Trump’s proposed budget would cripple the NIH and FDA
Unlock this article — plus daily coverage and analysis of the biotech sector — by subscribing to STAT+. First 30 days free. GET STARTED By Andrew Joseph May 25, 2017 Reprints STAT+ is STAT’s premium subscription service for in-depth biotech, pharma, policy, and life science coverage and analysis. Our award-winning team covers news on Wall Street, policy developments in Washington, early science breakthroughs and clinical trial results, and health care disruption in Silicon Valley and beyond. APStock Key insight: Several biotech firms, including BrainStorm, AB Science, and Neuraltus, are forging ahead with drugs to treat aspects of ALS. Scientists are hopeful — but cautious.Considering it took more than two decades for a second ALS drug to make it to the US market, you might think that few companies are willing to take the risk of developing such treatments. Biotech Daily reporting and analysis The most comprehensive industry coverage from a powerhouse team of reporters Subscriber-only newsletters Daily newsletters to brief you on the most important industry news of the day STAT+ Conversations Weekly opportunities to engage with our reporters and leading industry experts in live video conversations Exclusive industry events Premium access to subscriber-only networking events around the country The best reporters in the industry The most trusted and well-connected newsroom in the health care industry And much more Exclusive interviews with industry leaders, profiles, and premium tools, like our CRISPR Trackr. While no one says ‘cure,’ the pipeline for ALS treatments looks more promising [email protected] GET STARTED About the Author Reprints General Assignment Reporter Andrew covers a range of topics, from addiction to public health to genetics. Log In | Learn More @DrewQJoseph What’s included? What is it? Andrew Joseph Tags drug developmentneurologySTAT+
In the Know Daily reporting and analysis The most comprehensive industry coverage from a powerhouse team of reporters Subscriber-only newsletters Daily newsletters to brief you on the most important industry news of the day STAT+ Conversations Weekly opportunities to engage with our reporters and leading industry experts in live video conversations Exclusive industry events Premium access to subscriber-only networking events around the country The best reporters in the industry The most trusted and well-connected newsroom in the health care industry And much more Exclusive interviews with industry leaders, profiles, and premium tools, like our CRISPR Trackr. By Max Blau Sept. 29, 2017 Reprints STAT+ is STAT’s premium subscription service for in-depth biotech, pharma, policy, and life science coverage and analysis. Our award-winning team covers news on Wall Street, policy developments in Washington, early science breakthroughs and clinical trial results, and health care disruption in Silicon Valley and beyond. GET STARTED What is it? Dr. Chinazo Cunningham has treated thousands of chronic pain patients over the past two decades. Many of them have asked for opioids; they sometimes even request a specific kind of prescription painkiller. But the ones who don’t seek out opioids have intrigued the primary care physician.There’s a common refrain among those patients: Marijuana helped. Unlock this article by subscribing to STAT+ and enjoy your first 30 days free! GET STARTED What’s included? Hyacinth Empinado/STAT Log In | Learn More Can marijuana wean the nation off opioids? This doctor wants to know Tags addictionresearchSTAT+
Daily reporting and analysis The most comprehensive industry coverage from a powerhouse team of reporters Subscriber-only newsletters Daily newsletters to brief you on the most important industry news of the day STAT+ Conversations Weekly opportunities to engage with our reporters and leading industry experts in live video conversations Exclusive industry events Premium access to subscriber-only networking events around the country The best reporters in the industry The most trusted and well-connected newsroom in the health care industry And much more Exclusive interviews with industry leaders, profiles, and premium tools, like our CRISPR Trackr. Mr. Quixote goes to Washington? A bill would allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices By Ed Silverman Oct. 24, 2017 Reprints Pharmalot Tags drug priceslegislationMedicarepharmaceuticalsSTAT+ What is it? About the Author Reprints Unlock this article — plus daily coverage and analysis of the pharma industry — by subscribing to STAT+. First 30 days free. GET STARTED APStock In what some may call a quixotic move, a group of Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday will introduce a bill that gives the federal government the authority to negotiate drug prices for Medicare.The bill would allow formulary changes to generate more competition among companies that want preferred coverage for their medicines and also establish so-called fallback prices. These would allow the Department of Health and Human Services to pay what other countries or government agencies, such as the Department of Veterans Affairs, pay for a medicine if negotiations fail. STAT+ is STAT’s premium subscription service for in-depth biotech, pharma, policy, and life science coverage and analysis. Our award-winning team covers news on Wall Street, policy developments in Washington, early science breakthroughs and clinical trial results, and health care disruption in Silicon Valley and beyond. GET STARTED Log In | Learn More Ed Silverman [email protected] @Pharmalot What’s included? Pharmalot Columnist, Senior Writer Ed covers the pharmaceutical industry.
About the Authors Reprints We’ll be back next Thursday evening — and every Thursday evening — so be sure to sign up on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, or wherever you get your podcasts.And if you have any feedback for us — topics to cover, guests to invite, vocal tics to cease — you can email [email protected] Why are biotech investors suddenly so exuberant? What does it mean when a CEO scrubs his LinkedIn profile? And can CRISPR turn your dog into a winged hellhound bent on destroying Chicago?We discuss all that and more on the latest episode of “The Readout LOUD,” STAT’s biotech podcast. Stick around for a parsing of merger mania, a history lesson on biotech breakups, and the story of how a sleepy little cancer conference became a multimillion-dollar business. Also STAT reporter Megan Thielking joins us to talk about how Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has brought gene editing to the big screen, and Adam mentions Four Loko.For more on the topics we cover, here’s the EP Vantage story on M&A; here’s something on a CEO manicuring his LinkedIn; and, most importantly, here’s STAT’s review of “Rampage.”advertisement Damian Garde Senior Writer, Biotech Adam is STAT’s national biotech columnist, reporting on the intersection of biotech and Wall Street. He’s also a co-host of “The Readout LOUD” podcast. By Damian Garde , Rebecca Robbins, and Adam Feuerstein April 12, 2018 Reprints Tags biotechnologypodcast [email protected] The Readout LOUDLISTEN: Biotech buyouts, CEO breakups, and The Rock does CRISPR Adam Feuerstein @damiangarde National Biotech Reporter Damian covers biotech, is a co-writer of The Readout newsletter, and a co-host of “The Readout LOUD” podcast. [email protected] @adamfeuerstein