Back to the Moon

In early February President Biden relaunched the Cancer Moonshot program he first launched in 2016 as vice president. The goal of the program then was to accelerate research progress against cancer. Recognizing the advances made in cancer research, therapeutics, diagnostics, and patient care since 2016, the mission this time has changed. The goal now will be to reduce death caused by cancer by at least 50% over the next 25 years. The program will also work to improve the experience of those living with cancer and those who have survived cancer. The overall goal will be, as the White House said, to “end cancer as we know it today.”

The president will implement the Moonshot proposal in a number of ways. He has called for strong funding for the National Cancer Institute and the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) in general. His FY22 budget also calls for the development of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) within the NIH. The White House asserts that this agency will help the federal government develop treatments and cures for cancer, among other activities.

The White House also highlighted a number of new areas that the Moonshot will address. These include earlier diagnosis, prevention, and targeting treatments to patients. In addition, a “cancer cabinet” will be formed that will bring together the research-related and patient-related federal agencies. The goal of the cabinet is to make sure that all agencies are working together and with one goal.

About the Author:

Kevin M. Wilson serves as Director of Public Policy and Media Relations for The American Society for Cell Biology. He's worked as the Legislative Director for U.S. Congressman Robert Weygand (D-RI) and as a Legislative Assistant for U.S. Senator Claiborne Pell (D-RI). He has a BA in Politics and American Government from the Catholic University of America. Email: