U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is leading the US National Cancer Moonshot Initiative, as announced in Barack Obama’s final state of the union address in January 2016, to accelerate knowledge about the causes and development of cancer and help to find new therapies and cures.
In 1962 John F. Kennedy announced ‘a national effort to land a man on the moon and return him safely to Earth before the end of the decade’. The success of this venture was attributed in part to the significant resources applied to ensuring that the diverse array of stakeholders was unified in working towards a common objective. In recognition of the lessons learned from that approach to the space programme, the White House has now announced funding of $1 billion to jumpstart the Cancer Moonshot Initiative and a task force has been assigned to consult with external experts including the National Cancer Advisory board (NCAB) to inform the vision, propose scientific goals and implement the Moonshot Initiative.
The International Cell Line Authentication Committee (ICLAC) wrote to U.S Vice President Joe Biden and NCAB in May urging that common principles and requirements are adopted for training and quality assurance testing of research materials. ICLAC warns of the dangers of using misidentified cell lines in cancer research and advises that instilling the right training and quality assurance culture at the beginning of such a major initiative will help dramatically reduce irreproducibility and failure. Both are commonly reported in pre-clinical life science and without training and quality assurance guidelines the success of the Cancer Moonshot Initiative could be compromised. Once the regulations are in place the Moonshot Initiative could form the blueprint for performing future initiatives designed to ensure effective healthcare outcomes for the public.
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