Weekly Policy Update: Biden Administration Relaunches “Cancer Moonshot”
By: Colorado BioScience Association Date: 02/04/2022
Earlier this week, President Biden relaunched the Cancer Moonshot initiative which was originally created while he was serving as Vice President in 2016. And today also happens to be World Cancer Day which is a global uniting initiative to raise awareness and improve education around the global cancer epidemic.
The Biden administration cited recent progress in cancer therapeutics, diagnostics, and patient-driven care, as well as the scientific advances and public health lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic, as reasons to bring back the effort. With the renewed effort the administration has set an ambitious goal of reducing the death rate from cancer by at least 50% over the next 25 years. To help accomplish this goal CBSA supported legislation coming from members of Colorado’s Congressional Delegation and in particular, Congresswoman Diana DeGette and Senator Michael Bennet will be key.
As was noted by the administration, the 21st Century Cures Act sponsored by Rep. DeGette was signed into law over five years ago and saw Congress invest $1.8 billion to providing seven years of new funding for cancer research in the areas of cancer disparities, new clinical trial networks to drive drug discovery, and innovative projects examining childhood cancer.
21st Century Cures 2.0 Act
Last fall, Reps. DeGette and Fred Upton (MI-06) introduced the 21st Century Cures 2.0 Act as a follow up to the original Act. The Act includes provisions related to pandemic preparedness. It also includes measures to modernize and increase diversity in clinical trials by using patient experience data and real-world evidence. The legislation authorizes $6.5B to create the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) which would be housed within the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
CBSA hosted a virtual roundtable discussion with Congresswoman DeGette in 2020 where the Act was the focal point of the conversation. The roundtable was a great opportunity for CBSA and our members to showcase the critical health innovations being developed and delivered by our ecosystem and to provide meaningful feedback on policy ideas that aim to modernize the delivery of new treatments for patients globally.
Multi-Cancer Early Detection Screening Coverage Act
In 2020, Sen. Bennet along with Senators Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), and Tim Scott (R-S.C.) introduced the Multi-Cancer Early Detection Screening Coverage Act, which would provide Medicare coverage for screening tests to save lives and costs to the health care system. The bipartisan legislation would ensure Medicare beneficiaries have coverage for innovative tests that can detect multiple types of cancer before symptoms develop.
Last August, CBSA participated in a roundtable discussion hosted by Sen. Bennet on the Act where we were joined by cancer survivors and doctors. During the meeting, participants discussed the important impacts this legislation has on patients and the hope it delivers.
Last December marked 50 years since Congress passed the National Cancer Act and with over 70% of cancer-related deaths caused by cancers without early screening options, the MCED is the logical next step for the country in detecting and treating cancer as we enter this new era.
Overview of Cancer Moonshot Plan
- Create a White House Cancer Moonshot coordinator in the Executive Office of the President.
- Form and convene a cancer cabinet with members from various government agencies, including the Department of Health and Human Services, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Office of Public Engagement.
- Issue a call to action on cancer screening and early detection, which includes developing a program to study and evaluate multicancer detection tests.
- Host a White House Cancer Moonshot summit involving research and healthcare communities, patient organizations, agency leadership, biopharmaceutical companies and other stakeholders.
- Expand an existing White House Cancer Roundtable Conversation Series with experts, patients, survivors and caregivers.
- Call on the private sector, health care providers, academic institutions, foundations and other Americans to see themselves as part of the mission to reduce deadly cancer and improve patient experiences.