Cancer Moonshot Summit at VIC
Written By: Anastasia Artamonova
Cancer has become a prominent part of the landscape nowadays, from the displays for Takeda’s “We Aspire to Cure Cancer” campaign to the Jimmy Fund tip jars all around us, cancer is no longer a topic for hushed voices and closed doors. A prominent voice that has joined the discussion is Vice President Joe Biden, who is heading the national Cancer Moonshot 2020, a program proposed to open cancer research and personalized medicine to the public and inspire collaboration between the researchers and the masses.
The Moonshot initiative has directly resonated with laboratory members here at VIC, which not only includes a focus on research towards curing cancers, but also because some of its researchers have personal experience with the disease. On June 29th the Cancer Moonshot Summit was held in hundreds of locations across the country. VIC hosted a summit in order to discuss the initiative, hear the message from Vice President Biden and hold an open discussion pertaining to Moonshot points of emphasis facilitated by Dr. Mark Poznansky and Timothy Brauns. Among the group were young students interested in research careers, established researchers, some clinicians, and others whose lives have been affected by cancer. Discussion at this meeting emphasized the need to focus on disseminating access to groundbreaking healthcare and easing the pathway to advancing research for all scientists. Everyone seemed to show interest in increasing the involvement of the student body in research and increasing the ability of scientists to receive funding in the earlier stages of their careers.
The team at VIC has been making progress in addressing these concerns locally, playing an active role in student recruitment and emphasis on introducing students to the research field. Eight students from five different countries are partaking in active roles in VIC labs this summer, assisting researchers with ongoing research, including those related to the inner workings of cancer and the development of new therapies. The initiative was not made in vain, and will continue to open doors to new scientists down the road to 2020.