In February 2022, the Biden Administration announced the reigniting of the Cancer Moonshot program. This ambitious program was launched in 2016 with three key goals:
- accelerating scientific discovery in cancer,
- fostering greater collaboration, and
- improving the sharing of data
The 2022 reignition includes two new goals:
- reducing the death rate from cancer by at least 50% over the next 25 years and
- improving the experience of people and their families living with and surviving cancer
Maryland’s Cancer Moonshot Details
Following the exciting reigniting, Governor Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. of Maryland announced a $216 million plan to boost funding for cancer treatment, prevention, and research in Maryland. Linking its efforts to the National Cancer Moonshot, Hogan appropriately refers to this plan as the Maryland Cancer Moonshot.
According to Hogan, the Maryland Cancer Moonshot will dramatically accelerate Maryland’s efforts to detect, prevent, treat, and find a cure for cancer. Ultimately, the end goal is to save more lives. The initiative will make it easier to expand the early detection of cancer, screenings, and patient education. It will also provide advanced services for inpatient and outpatient care.
How the Budget Will Be Spent
Nearly half of the $216 million budget will help expand services provided by the University of Maryland Medical System’s Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center in Baltimore. This project alone will benefit thousands of Marylanders whose lives are touched by cancer annually. A further $67M will be used to fully fund the construction of a Prince George’s Comprehensive Cancer Center in Largo.
In addition to state-of-the-art cancer centers, Maryland Cancer Moonshot will utilize $25 million towards cancer research at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and Johns Hopkins University and a further $20.5 million for the Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund for research on regenerative treatments. Hogan has also budgeted $2.5 million for the Maryland Tech Council. This funding will bolster talent development and outreach to students in underserved communities.
Spotlight on Pediatric Cancer
While each aspect of the Maryland Cancer Moonshot will make significant strides in cancer research, one particular area excites experts in Maryland and worldwide. Maryland Cancer Moonshot includes $1 million to boost pediatric cancer research at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Despite the progress in cancer research, children and adolescents who are cancer patients have only a few treatments designed explicitly for their cancer. The lack of development of pediatric cancer drugs results in pediatric oncologists using adult cancer drugs to treat their young patients. While these drugs may still yield positive results, many experts suggest that developing pediatric medicines could significantly improve outcomes.
National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR) has funded pediatric cancer experts to explore such developments. The support from Maryland Cancer Moonshot means these researchers can utilize more resources to launch their discoveries.
Local Maryland NFCR-funded researcher Dr. Curt I Civin, for example, paved the way in bone marrow stem cell transplantation. Dr. Civin’s commitment to finding innovative ways to treat cancer has saved thousands of lives, continuing with support from the AIM-HI Translational Research Initiative.
This funding will also benefit experts worldwide by building upon existing research and initiating new findings to spark innovation in the field. NFCR-funded researcher Dr. Cesare Spadoni is committed to identifying treatments for the most common pediatric cancers with the poorest prognosis. Maryland Cancer Moonshot means more funding for his area of expertise and more collaboration opportunities.
It is an exciting time for cancer researchers in the wake of Biden’s reigniting of Cancer Moonshot and Hogan’s launch of Maryland Cancer Moonshot. Join our mailing list to stay up to date with the latest discoveries like these.