The report details nearly 20 projects that are already underway or soon will be in the moonshot’s first year and another two dozen planned for its second year and beyond.
Major themes include harnessing big data, sharing research among scientists, and expanding preventive measures like the HPV vaccine and colorectal cancer screening. Some of these efforts will be run by the government; others are being led by the private sector.
Here are three big projects that caught our eye.
Diagnosing cancer with only a blood test
Researchers have long tried to develop a blood test that could diagnose cancer, and figures including Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates have invested in projects to meet that goal.
The plan is to make freely available the raw datasets of cancer cells and DNA that circulate through the body, merging the work of 20 entities working in the field.
Understanding cancer before it becomes cancer
The Defense Department will undertake a longitudinal study on biomarkers, the biological signs that precede cancer, in service members. The Pentagon already collects data on personnel diagnosed with cancer, and has about 250,000 samples dating back 25 years.
Bringing the Space Race to the cancer moonshot
Radiation therapy isn’t the new kid on the block anymore — not like immunotherapy, a favorite of the vice president’s — but NASA and the National Cancer Institute are nonetheless forging a partnership to study a new iteration called particle beam radiotherapy.
The goal is to better target doses of radiation to the cancer cells, thereby minimizing the unpleasant side effects that often come with radiation treatment.
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