Special Section: Cancer Moonshot – Five Years and Rising

Ebony Dashiell Aje smiling

ear Global Forum Readers,

Cancer has impacted all our lives in one way or another. Whether we have experienced the pain and anguish associated with diagnosis and prognosis, or the burden of treatment and its side effects, cancer significantly affects the lifetime trajectory and long-term outlook of patients and their caregivers.

The Cancer Moonshot was birthed in 2016 from the urgent need for further advancement of novel therapeutics to treat and improve the survival outcomes of both adults and children diagnosed with cancer. At that time, there were greater than 1.6 million new cancer diagnoses and 595,690 cancer deaths estimated in the US and a need for better treatment options. 2016 also marked the advent of expedited technological advances, including great progress in precision medicine, genomics, and innovative immunotherapy that led to many of the breakthroughs from which patients benefit today.

Since 2016, we have seen a dramatic paradigm shift, marking what some view as a the “golden age” of oncological sciences including discovery of novel malignancy markers that drive personalized medicine to the development of effective, targeted immunotherapies, and a foundation built for a national data ecosystem. There is also now a collective goal toward improving racial and ethnic diversity and age representation in clinical research and trials to advance early cancer detection methods, treatment development, and outcomes for all. We acknowledge that great progress has been made to decrease cancer mortality in the US with decades of science to back novel approaches supporting cancer prevention, early detection, and treatment.

Despite this progress, an estimated 2 million additional people will be diagnosed with cancer by the end of 2022 (that’s 5,250 new cases being detected every day), and an estimated 609,000 people may still succumb to this disease. This tells us there is more work to be done to speed the progress of scientific innovation and curtail the prevalence and incidence of cancer in the US and around the world.

The timely Cancer Moonshot relaunch of 2022 represents greater hope, greater equity, and new possibilities for patients and their families. It also represents the government’s commitment to financially supporting the critical scientific work that will fuel effective translational science and deliver life-saving treatments to those who need it most.

The theme of this special edition of Global Forum is “Five Years and Rising.” We are “looking back to look forward,” to highlight key areas of reflection and future innovation that will help take cancer research to the next level. From perspectives on progress made from recommendations in the 2016 expert Blue Ribbon report, to discussions about the role of digital therapeutics and technology, to more accurate patient representation in clinical research, and discovering the role of novel mRNA technology in oncology, we believe that this special section (including our retrospective “reprint” of cancer-related articles published since 2020) will be of great interest to the Global Forum reader and spark inspiration in the scientific community at large.

June is also the month when thousands of oncologists and other professionals and patient advocates gather at ASCO – the American Society of Clinical Oncology – to learn and share the latest developments in cancer research and therapeutics. Global Forum recognizes the efforts of so many around the world who are fighting cancer every day with an undeterred will to win.I consider it a great honor to serve as Editor for this Special Edition of Global Forum on the Cancer Moonshot relaunch, and wholeheartedly thank DIA for this opportunity to contribute to discussion of this important topic.

Best Regards,

Ebony Dashiell-Aje
Special Section Editor