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MD Anderson Launches “Moon Shots” Against Cancer Amid National Attention

Dr Sanjay Gupta interviews MD Anderson President, Dr Ronald DePinho, for CNN

(Miriam Falco, CNN)
Fifty years ago, President John F. Kennedy came to Houston and told the world that the United States would go to the moon before the end of the 1960s.

On Friday, Houston’s MD Anderson Cancer Center is announcing its own “Moon Shots Program,” aimed at significantly reducing the number of deaths from a handful of cancers by the end of this decade.

Inspired by Kennedy’s words, Dr. Ronald DePinho, president of the large cancer treatment and research center, is launching this project in two parallel tracks: “One is to apply the existing knowledge, to make a near-term impact in this decade,” he said. “The second is to also say, ‘We do not know everything we need to know to ultimately cure the disease.'”

The cancer center calls the program “an unprecedented effort to dramatically accelerate the pace of converting scientific discoveries into clinical advances that reduce cancer deaths.”

“The Moon Shots Program signals our confidence that the path to curing cancer is in clearer sight than at any other time in history,” DePinho says.

Doctors at MD Anderson believe that dying from cancer can eventually be as rare as dying from pneumonia. And DePinho believes this can happen sooner rather later for patients suffering from the following five types of cancer:

  • lung cancer
  • melanoma
  • triple negative breast cancer and ovarian cancer (which are very similar on the molecular level)
  • prostate cancer
  • acute myeloid leukemia/myelodysplastic syndrome & chronic lymphocytic leukemia (blood cancers)

These types of cancers were chosen by a panel of 25 experts from within and outside MD Anderson based on what’s known about prevention, treatment and survivorship as well as the likelihood of reducing the number of deaths.
(See full story at CNN)

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