MD Anderson Cancer Center to Invest up to $3B in New Cancer Program

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston announced (pdf) plans to invest up to $3 billion in the first 10 years of a new program aimed at eradicating cancer.

The Moon Shots Program aims to speed the application of scientific discoveries to clinical care to reduce cancer deaths. The program will initially target eight cancers through six multidisciplinary teams of clinicians and researchers.

The program's infrastructure will be based on 12 institution-wide scientific and technical platforms that will support the moon shots teams. The platforms include the following:

•    Adaptive learning in genomic medicine: A workflow that integrates real-time patient clinical information and research genomic data.
•    Big data: The capture, storage and processing of huge amounts of information, much of which will come from the Next Generation Sequencing machines, or genome sequencing.
•    Cancer control and prevention: Cancer screening and early detection and survivorship to educate the community and reduce cancer incidence. The platform also involves public policy and evidence-based service delivery.
•    Center for co-clinical trials: The use of mouse or cell models of human cancers to test new drugs or drug combinations.
•    Clinical genomics: The collection and processing of tumor specimens for clinical tests.
•    Diagnostics development: The development of diagnostic tests to guide targeted therapy.
•    Early detection: The use of imaging and proteomic technologies to discover markers that can identify patients with early-staged cancers.
•    Institute for applied cancer science: The development of targeted cancer drugs.
•    Institute for personalized cancer therapy: The analysis of genomic abnormalities in tumors to guide personalized treatments and clinical trials.
•    Massive data analytics: The development or use of computational algorithms to analyze large-scale patient and public data.
•    Patient omics: The centralized collection of patient biospecimens to identify mutations that can inform personalized treatment decisions.
•    Translational research continuum: A framework to transition a candidate drug from preclinical studies to early stages of human clinical trial testing.

The program was inspired by President John Kennedy's 1962 speech that challenged the nation to put a man on the moon within the decade.

The program will begin in February 2013.

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