During this year’s State of the Union address, President Barack Obama announced Cancer Moonshot 2020: a new initiative aimed at eliminating cancer as we know it. Cancer Moonshot 2020 plans to break down barriers and enable progress by enhancing data access, facilitating collaborations, and investing in the development of new technologies and treatments. We applaud this initiative not only for its emphasis on eliminating the burden of cancer, but also for its practical approaches and acknowledgement of the complexities of this mission.
While the $1 billion announced to fund this initiative is a large figure on its own, the effort will need to hyper-focus its resources and influence to make a meaningful impact. In this issue, we explore some practical ways that Cancer Moonshot 2020 can make good on its promise to improve outcomes for patients everywhere.
At the forefront of this revolution is the idea of combining therapies to combat the many ways cancers can adapt and survive. As our understanding of cancer and the immune system grows, we are witnessing the emergence of a new vision – where practical combinations can benefit many more patients now faced with life-threatening disease.
Each week at OncoSec, we come across a wide range of news material. This week, we continue our “What We’re Reading” series, with our second instalment. There have been quite a number of recent articles regarding cancer, the biotech industry and treatment methods but we would like to highlight three that you might find interesting and informative.
At OncoSec, we believe it’s important to highlight those striving to fight against cancer. We especially like to share stories about inspiring cancer survivors who have helped to raise awareness, to educate others about cancer risk, and who have raised funds or started cancer advocacy initiatives of their own. In our ongoing Inspiring Cancer Survivors series, we would like to present you with volume two: three amazing youth cancer survivors who have helped others through cancer.
The treatment of many cancer types can vary quite widely. Different cancers and stages denote slightly different methods of treatment. While the early stages of some cancers – especially skin cancer – can sometimes require only minor surgery, others can require highly damaging doses of radiation and chemotherapy. With immunotherapy, companies like OncoSec are hoping to increase the number of available cancer treatments that are less damaging to the body. One specific cancer that we’re targeting is Merkel cell carcinoma.
Smart Patients is an online platform that connects cancer patients and caregivers, allowing for an exchange of knowledge and support. Co-founded by Gilles Frydman and Roni Zeiger, MD – Google’s former chief health strategist – Smart Patients is a platform where users can share stories about their personal experiences, talk about the current leading research in the field, as well as access a library of clinical trials. By combining a message board community and archive of clinical trials, cancer affected patients, friends and family have an invaluable resource in their own home.
Fighting cancer can be one of the most difficult things a person will ever face. Aside from the detriments caused by the disease, many available treatments leave patients drained and in pain. Keeping a positive, determined attitude can make a huge difference, in a patient or survivor’s ability to push forward and stay motivated. We’ve had the pleasure of meeting many cancer survivors who pushed through their illness: individuals who looked at their experience and wanted to use it to help others. These three advocates have all survived cancer and created non-profit organizations, in order to help educate, inspire, or treat cancer patients, as well as raising awareness around cancer risk factors and prevention.