Cancer Moonshot: new deals to accelerate detection and treatment of cancer

19 July 2016

Two deals signed by US Vice President Joe Biden and NSW Premier Mike Baird will advance the ‘Cancer Moonshot’ initiative to accelerate proteogenomics research and its translation to better cancer care. 

The ‘Cancer Moonshot’, announced by US President Barack Obama during his State of the Union address this year, established a new effort led by Vice President Biden to make more therapies available to more patients, while improving the prevention and early detection of cancer.

We're on the cusp of so many potential breakthroughs.
US Vice President, Joe Biden

The first deal, between the US National Cancer Institute and the NSW government, formalises an agreement to collaborate on the Cancer Moonshot and opens the door to greater collaboration in cancer research between the parties.

The second deal,  between  The Children’s Medical Research Institute, The Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Macquarie University and Bioplatforms Australia Ltd, paves the way for scientific collaboration in the field of clinical proteogenomics. Proteogenomic research is the study of genes and their protein products, their role in cancer development and progression and possible targets for therapies.

In addition, CMRI will share in a $6m investment by the NSW Government for ProCan, a world-first cancer proteomics research program that will analyse the human cancer proteome. ProCan will harness enormous amounts of cancer proteogenomics data with the aim of improving cancer diagnosis and treatment decision-making.

The NSW government’s injection of funds will contribute to ‘big data’ analysis infrastructure and expertise and enable ProCan to achieve its goals, which include facilitating collaboration and open access to research results in order to boost cancer research efforts worldwide.

University of Sydney Professor of Medicine and Director of CMRI, Professor Roger Reddel said: “We’re very grateful for the funding from the NSW Government, which will make it possible for ProCan to participate more fully in the international efforts against cancer, especially in children and young adults.”

Cancer research has become an issue close to Mr Biden’s heart after he lost his 46-year-old son Beau to brain cancer last year.

"We're on the cusp of so many potential breakthroughs," said Mr Biden.

"You learn that a day makes a difference. You learn that people who know they have no chance are just saying to their clinicians, 'Can you just give me one more month so I can give my daughter away at her wedding?'," he said.

"It's personal. It's minutes, it's hours, it's days, it's months.

NSW Premier Mike Baird said the state had much to offer the world in the fight against cancer through the state’s long-term investment in health and medical research, and ensuring research is translated into patient care.

“This agreement will allow us to share our advances in cancer research, with the aim of preventing, controlling and managing the disease,” Mr Baird said.

More information

The Vice President’s press statement

The Vice President’s ‘Cancer Moonshot’

ProCan: the ACRF International Centre for the Proteome of Human Cancer

Dan Gaffney

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