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Research Hospital Plans Anti-Cancer “Moonshot”

Posted 9/21/2012 7:00 am by

The MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas’s Houston enclave is one of the world’s leading cancer research and treatment hospitals.  They’ve established themselves as the leaders of the fight against cancer, and the hospital is taking that leadership a step further.  MD Anderson Cancer Center has established the Moon Shots Program, in which the hospital plans to spend $3 billion over the next 10 years to wipe out certain strains of cancer.  It’s a noble goal, and it’s one that Anderson can successfully accomplish given their research history and available funding.

“Humanity urgently needs bold action to defeat cancer.  I believe that we have many of the tools we need to pick the fight of the 21st century.  Let’s focus our energies on approaching cancer comprehensively and systematically, with the precision of an engineer, always asking … ‘What can we do to directly impact patients?'” said Dr. Ronald DePinho, the director of the MD Anderson Cancer Center, taking his cue from President Kennedy’s 1962 speech about putting men on the moon.

The types of cancer DePinho wants to wipe out are myelodysplastic syndrome (the one Robin Roberts has), two types of leukemia, breast and ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, and melanoma.  Indeed, his first action upon becoming director of MD Anderson was to launch a competition to treat those forms of cancer, pitting six teams against one another.  Apparently, he got results.

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