A panel of top scientists is calling for a national database where genetic profiles of patients' tumors could be shared to identify the best treatment options. The panel is part of the Obama administration's “Cancer Moonshot” initiative aimed at advancing cancer research.
Among the panel's other recommendations are a national network to encourage greater patient participation in clinical trials that would offer comprehensive tumor profiling. Such tests personalize cancer treatment by matching a treatment to the genetic profile of a tumor. Patients participating in the network could preregister for clinical trials that would allow them access to experimental therapies.
The panel would also like to see a clinical trials network that promotes immunotherapy which seeks to fight cancer by boosting the body's immune system. Another recommendation calls for employing evidence-based approaches and finding better strategies that promote prevention.
A total of ten recommendations were released Wednesday by the Cancer Moonshot Blue Ribbon Panel (PDF), a group of 28 experts tasked with establishing seven working groups that focus on improving clinical trials, data sharing, prevention and early detection, and pediatric cancer care.
“To truly maximize our potential to accelerate progress we must support new scientific investigation while simultaneously making the benefits of completed prevention and treatment research available to the entire population,” said Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society and a member of the Blue Ribbon Panel in a statement. He added that cancer is expected to kill more than 595,000 people in the U.S. this year alone.
The panel did not include ways to fund any of these initiatives. Congress has yet to approve Obama's request of $1 billion for cancer research.