How to Achieve Quantum Leaps in Cancer Research and Treatment

We are very pleased that President Obama called for a new national initiative in cancer research, to be led by Vice President Joe Biden. At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last week, Mr. Biden said he’s looking for “quantum leaps” in our understanding of cancer and how to treat it. With a focused, concentrated national commitment to collaborative and patient-oriented research, we can change cancer as we know it.

We have worked together for the past eight years, as a scientist and as an advocate, in the initiative called Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C). More than 100 top cancer scientists are meeting this week at an SU2C Scientific Summit organized by our scientific partner, the American Association for Cancer Research. These include members of SU2C-funded “Dream Teams” and recipients of individual research grants, all devoted to solving key problems in cancer research, as well as patient advocates who bring the perspectives of those affected by cancer to the scientists’ work. They will report their latest findings and discuss them with their fellow scientists – a perfect example of the information-sharing that Mr. Biden has correctly described as critical to progress.

We can identify with the Vice President’s call to break down the silos that often impede scientific research, because that is exactly what we do through SU2C. Collaboration among scientists – across institutional lines and even disciplinary boundaries – is a key part of the SU2C program. So is access to information, another major objective set by Vice President Biden. Mr. Biden has spoken of the importance of collaboration. We agree – collaboration is critical.

We know this approach works. Since its inception in 2008, SU2C and its foundation partners have launched 18 “Dream Teams,” each consisting of both clinical and discovery researchers from at least six —> Read More