By Lauren C. Leiman, White House Cancer Moonshot Senior Director External Partnerships

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Blood Profiling Atlas Meeting at the White House, Oct. 18, 2016. (Photo by Sophia Sokolowski)

Identifying the Mission

Thanks to remarkable scientific advances, we know that tumors shed a variety of signals into the blood, leaving behind small hints to help identify cancer type, location, and disease-stage. For this reason, researchers are especially interested in developing new ways to use this knowledge to transform how we detect and diagnose cancer, making it possible for a future wherein simple blood draws could help physicians and patients more accurately and successfully manage disease.

The technology — commonly described as liquid biopsies —could offer a less invasive and easily replicable alternative to standard biopsies, experienced by the patient as a simple blood test as compared to, for example, an often painful bone marrow biopsy. In the past decade, there has been some momentum around enhancing the science and clinical utility of liquid biopsies where tumors shed breadcrumbs into blood, urine and saliva. …


By Lynne O’Brien, Policy Analyst, White House Cancer Moonshot Task Force

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O’Brien in 2016 with Team “LOL” as part of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Team in Training. Credit: personal photo.

The day I was diagnosed with leukemia in February 2012 was a busy one. As my doctor carefully went over my test results and explained next steps, the news did not sink in. I was not hearing that I had cancer; my head was full of things I needed to do when I left the office to prepare for arriving-any-minute house guests, a play at school, and a busy sports schedule for my three children. And my husband was stuck on a runway in New York. And, as usual, my phone was dead. I didn’t have time for leukemia. As I drove home the realization of what he said began to take hold. …


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Vice President Joe Biden gives opening remarks at the Cancer Moonshot Summit at Howard University in Washington, D.C., June 29, 2016. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)


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Vice President Joe Biden tours a laboratory at Sloan Kettering Rockefeller Research Labs, New York, New York, May 26, 2016. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)


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Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden view a demonstration of cell-mimicking robots that illustrate research on engineered T-cells that can kill cancer cells, with Dr. Wendall Lim, Director, UCSF Center for Systems and Synthetic Biology during a tour of the Center for Advanced Technology Lab at the University of California San Francisco campus in San Francisco, California, Feb. 27, 2016. Those in attendance are Sam Hawgood, Chancellor of University of California San Francisco; Dr. Alan Ashworth, President, UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center (Tour Guide). (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)


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Vice President Joe Biden holds a roundtable with Industry Leaders at the Cancer Moonshot Summit, at Howard University in Washington, DC, June 29, 2016. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)


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Vice President Joe Biden chairs the first meeting of the White House Cancer Task Force, in his Ceremonial Office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House, Feb. 1, 2016. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)


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Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden tour the Center for Advanced Technology Lab at the University of California San Francisco campus in San Francisco, California, Feb. 27, 2016. Those in attendance are Sam Hawgood, Chancellor of University of California San Francisco; Dr. Alan Ashworth, President, UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center (Tour Guide); Dr. Zev Garner, Associate Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, UCSF (Stop 1). (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)


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Vice President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the Cancer Moonshot at the Baker Institute at Rice University, Sept 16, 2016. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)


By Anabella Aspiras, Director of Patient Engagement, White House Cancer Moonshot Task Force

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Aspiras (third from left) and Dr. Biden meet with patients. Credit: PatientsLikeMe.

Of the many words oncology patients use to describe their experience navigating the healthcare system, perhaps the most upsetting is “ignored.” As Director for Patient Engagement for the White House Cancer Moonshot Task Force, I endeavor to make the patient’s voice heard — loudly and poignantly clear. …

About

The Cancer Moonshot

The official Medium account of the Vice President’s Cancer Moonshot. Notes may be archived: http://wh.gov/privacy.

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