Dr. Marshall on Challenges With Cancer Moonshot Initiative

John L. Marshall, MD
Published: Thursday, Nov 10, 2016



John L. Marshall, MD, chief, Division of Hematology/Oncology, Georgetown University Hospital, discusses potential obstacles ahead with the Cancer Moonshot Initiative following the results of the 2016 United States presidential election.

Billions of dollars have been spent on cancer research, Marshall explains. While there have been significant improvements in patient survival outcomes, Marshall fears that the oncology community has been misguided by "basic science" because preclinical models are not explaining what is specifically occurring in patients. The developments of targeted therapies has helped researchers to understand molecular profiling in patients. This is also something on patients' radar, he adds.

Additionally, there needs to be a shift of investment and research dollars into more clinical-enriched protocols; currently, there is more measurable tumor markers, biopsies, and samples, Marshall says. Therefore, more research dollars can be shifted to the patient, which is beneficial. The Cancer Moonshot Initiative is driving the field in that direction, he adds.

However, the challenge with the Cancer Moonshot Initiative is that there is not enough funding to accomplish all of these research goals. Following the recent results of the 2016 United States presidential election, which was won by Republican Donald J. Trump, Marshall is concerned that the initiative could become obsolete, or has any chance of surviving, once the president-elect is sworn into office.


John L. Marshall, MD, chief, Division of Hematology/Oncology, Georgetown University Hospital, discusses potential obstacles ahead with the Cancer Moonshot Initiative following the results of the 2016 United States presidential election.

Billions of dollars have been spent on cancer research, Marshall explains. While there have been significant improvements in patient survival outcomes, Marshall fears that the oncology community has been misguided by "basic science" because preclinical models are not explaining what is specifically occurring in patients. The developments of targeted therapies has helped researchers to understand molecular profiling in patients. This is also something on patients' radar, he adds.

Additionally, there needs to be a shift of investment and research dollars into more clinical-enriched protocols; currently, there is more measurable tumor markers, biopsies, and samples, Marshall says. Therefore, more research dollars can be shifted to the patient, which is beneficial. The Cancer Moonshot Initiative is driving the field in that direction, he adds.

However, the challenge with the Cancer Moonshot Initiative is that there is not enough funding to accomplish all of these research goals. Following the recent results of the 2016 United States presidential election, which was won by Republican Donald J. Trump, Marshall is concerned that the initiative could become obsolete, or has any chance of surviving, once the president-elect is sworn into office.



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