Cancer MoonShot Summit with CureTalks Myeloma Panelist and Patient Advocate Cynthia Chmielewski

In his final State of the Union address on Jan. 12, 2016, President Barack Obama echoed Vice President Joe Biden’s plea for a unified endeavor to cure cancer and announced the creation of a national cancer moonshot. And he declared Biden to be “in charge of Mission Control.”

The Cancer MoonShot 2020 Program is the nation’s most comprehensive cancer collaborative initiative seeking to accelerate the potential of combination immunotherapy as the next generation standard of care in cancer patients. This initiative aims to explore a new paradigm in cancer care by initiating randomized Phase II trials in patients at all stages of disease in 20 tumor types in 20,000 patients within the next 36 months. These findings will inform Phase III trials and the aspirational moonshot to develop an effective vaccine-based immunotherapy to combat cancer by 2020.

CureTalks panelist, myeloma survivor/advocate and good friend Cynthia Chmielewski (Cindy) was part of the first Cancer Moonshot Summit held at Howard University in Washington, DC.

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And she this is how she described her experience:

It was a truly amazing experience. I left the day feeling invigorated, inspired and valued.  I believe with collaboration and a sense of urgency VP Biden’s Moonshot goals are feasible.

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Cindy had a great time at the summit and said she especially liked the ‘break out’ sessions which she was part of. They met in working groups of 40 people and discussed current road blocks to progress than brainstormed possible solutions. Cindy was part of two groups – Patient Voice and Patient Participation and Retention In Clinical Trials.

Cindy has penned her experience of the summit in a blog here.

I was particularly interested in the graphic idea boards that were created by the working groups during these sessions which Cindy shared with us.

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One look at the ideas on the boards can tell you that the groups were doing their jobs perfectly. The ideas on how to recruit and retain participants in clinical research included ways of increasing patient engagement, user-friendly clinical trials, how trials should be prioritized among others.

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Social media’s role in educating and spreading information about trials, need for better clinical trial matching tools and engaging and educating patients about research grants also featured in the ‘plan of action’ list.

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The need for researchers and officials to pay attention to the ‘Voice of the patient’ reigned supreme as patient experts committed to the cause of the moonshot  and resonated with the conference hashtag #CanServe.

The moonshot initiative is an exemplary and concerted effort for improved cancer treatments and cure. Patient voices like Cindy’s will make a difference to this initiative and drive it in the right direction.

 

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