Cancer Moonshot

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012016022320160229 (R4)

President Obama in his State of the Nation address in January 2016 announced a "Moonshot" effort to beat cancer. His vice-president Joe Biden is in charge of mission control, and for Biden, it's personal - his son Beau died from brain cancer last year at the age of 46. But there's a sense of déjà-vu about this new Moonshot - President Nixon declared war on cancer in 1971.

More than 40 years later, clearly the war is still not won - but what has it achieved?

GP Dr Graham Easton tells the story of philanthropist Mary Lasker whose campaigning influenced Nixon to start his War on Cancer. He hears how the Cancer Plan brought in mathematicians and physicists who had worked on the Manhattan Project and for NASA to find cures for cancer. Curing cancer turned out to be a much harder problem than landing men on the moon.

Graham Easton looks back at the treatments available in the 1970s and asks if the War on Cancer lead to improved therapies.

In the last forty years the outlook for some cancers, such as childhood leukaemia and testicular cancer, has improved markedly, but would these developments have happened without Nixon's campaign?

In 1974, President Richard Nixon launched a war on cancer. In 2016, Vice President Joe Biden launches a 'moonshot' on cancer. Graham Easton asks if these directed campaigns work.

Graham Easton asks if directed campaigns have ever made an impact on cancer survival.

0220160301

0220160301

In 1974, President Richard Nixon launched a war on cancer. In 2015, Vice President Joe Biden announced a 'moonshot' on cancer. Graham Easton asks what this campaign can achieve.

022016030120160307 (R4)

US Vice President Joe Biden is leading a Cancer Moonshot with $1 billion injection of cash. He is asking researchers to work more closely together and share their data to develop better ways of detecting cancer and to come up with new treatments. On this side of the Atlantic, Cancer Research UK has announced a series of Grand Challenges to find innovative therapies.

Even veterans of false dawns in the war against cancer believe that these campaigns have arrived at a good time. They say that we're on the cusp of a new era of a brighter outlook for cancer patients. This new era depends on earlier diagnosis, more accurate surgery and radiotherapy, and some new kinds of drugs.

Dr Graham Easton talks to doctors and scientists about how technology now allows them to read the genetic signature of each individual cancer, which can lead to personalised treatments. He finds out about how treatments that harness the body's immune system are leading to some remarkable recoveries for a handful of patients with some specific cancers, such as melanoma.

Graham also asks if prevention could be better than cure, and if the extra funding going into cancer research is enough to make a difference.

022016030120160307 (R4)

US Vice President Joe Biden is leading a Cancer Moonshot with $1 billion injection of cash. He is asking researchers to work more closely together and share their data to develop better ways of detecting cancer and to come up with new treatments. On this side of the Atlantic, Cancer Research UK has announced a series of Grand Challenges to find innovative therapies.

Even veterans of false dawns in the war against cancer believe that these campaigns have arrived at a good time. They say that we're on the cusp of a new era of a brighter outlook for cancer patients. This new era depends on earlier diagnosis, more accurate surgery and radiotherapy, and some new kinds of drugs.

Dr Graham Easton talks to doctors and scientists about how technology now allows them to read the genetic signature of each individual cancer, which can lead to personalised treatments. He finds out about how treatments that harness the body's immune system are leading to some remarkable recoveries for a handful of patients with some specific cancers, such as melanoma.

Graham also asks if prevention could be better than cure, and if the extra funding going into cancer research is enough to make a difference.

In 1974, President Richard Nixon launched a war on cancer. In 2015, Vice President Joe Biden announced a 'moonshot' on cancer. Graham Easton asks what this campaign can achieve.