In 2016, the Obama administration introduced The Cancer Moonshot Program. Piloted by Joe Biden during his vice presidency, the initiative sought to expedite the research and progress made for the fight against cancer. Now, as President, Biden pledges to drastically reduce cancer death rates. With a renewed commitment to Cancer Moonshot and the advancements in technology, the goals are more attainable than ever – even for people with the rare cancer mesothelioma.
President Biden announced last month his plans to cut the cancer death rate in half within the next 25 years and improve the experience and quality of life for cancer patients, survivors and their families. The tasks at hand are introducing new treatment options through cutting-edge research, improving current therapies, and allowing more and quicker access to palliative care and mental health services – all of which apply to the current landscape facing mesothelioma patients and their loved ones.
To reach these goals, President Biden calls upon medical professionals, researchers, patients and the general public, asking them to do their part by participating in annual screenings and allowing their medical information to be accessible for research and data sharing.
Expansion of Treatment Options and Cutting-Edge Immunotherapy Discoveries
One of President Biden’s many goals for Cancer Moonshot is to create a National Cancer Data Ecosystem — making more information readily available for doctors, researchers, and clinicians in all specialties. By doing this, there could be exponential progress in cancer research that leads to more treatment options, cures and even preventative vaccines.
For mesothelioma patients, treatment options are limited yet rigorous. One mesothelioma treatment option — recently FDA-approved — is immunotherapy. Because the FDA approved only two immunotherapy drugs with the caveat they must be used together, the progress Cancer Moonshot has initiated in immunotherapy research is exciting.
The Immuno-Oncology Translational Network (IOTN) is a task force assembled by Cancer Moonshot to specifically research new immune targets for cancer treatments and develop new immunotherapies to treat and prevent adult cancers, such as mesothelioma. In addition, the network includes a Cellular Immunotherapy Data Resource (CIDR) that collects information about patients receiving cell-based immunotherapies, which can inform future studies of immunotherapeutic treatments.
Improving Quality of Life – Living With and Surviving Mesothelioma
The Cancer Moonshot Program strives to improve the experience and quality of life of cancer patients, survivors and their families. Due to Cancer Moonshot, top-tier treatment and innovative medical technologies will be accessible to all communities, races and genders. This approach will lead to earlier diagnosis and more effective care, further enhancing the experience associated with cancer.
Another approach to patient care is to reduce pain from symptoms, lower mental and physical distress, and eliminate the fear of dying. These elements all make up the non-invasive medical treatment called palliative care, which is essential to improving quality of life.
The Cancer Moonshot’s goal is to provide high-quality care that includes not only top-notch medical assistance but also financial aid programs, mental health services and more. Cancer Moonshot promises to make the development of these programs a priority.
For mesothelioma, increased attention and resources toward palliative care and financial assistance is important. Mesothelioma recurrence is a major issue for many patients. Even the threat of recurrence can cause significant mental health issues, mostly tied to fear of seeing signs of tumors on imaging scans taken at regular check-ins.
Another issue is financial limitations paying for treatment. Chemotherapy, immunotherapy and surgery cost tens of thousands of dollars, often dwindling patients’ savings accounts and retirement funds.
A dedication to quality of life, mental health and financial aid will greatly assist people with mesothelioma as they navigate through the treatment process – and their post-treatment survivorship.
There is renewed excitement about the Cancer Moonshot program, and there is great hope for ending the fight against cancer. In the years to come, we at Mesothelioma Guide hope the Cancer Moonshot program fulfills the promise of revolutionary advancements to benefit those affected by mesothelioma and all cancers.
Sources & Author
- Fact Sheet: President Biden Reignites Cancer Moonshot to End Cancer as We Know It. The White House. Retrieved from: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2022/02/02/fact-sheet-president-biden-reignites-cancer-moonshot-to-end-cancer-as-we-know-it/. Accessed: 02/19/2022.
- Cancer Moonshot. National Cancer Institute. Retrieved from: https://www.cancer.gov/research/key-initiatives/moonshot-cancer-initiative. Accessed 02/21/2022.
- Build a National Cancer Data Ecosystem. National Cancer Institute. Retrieved from: https://www.cancer.gov/research/key-initiatives/moonshot-cancer-initiative/implementation/data-ecosystem. Accessed: 02/21/2022.
- Create an Adult Immunotherapy Network. National Cancer Institute. Retrieved from: https://www.cancer.gov/research/key-initiatives/moonshot-cancer-initiative/implementation/adult-immunotherapy-network. Accessed: 02/21/2022.
Sources & Author