Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘US government’

Cancer Policy Related News from Washington DC and New NCI Appointments

Reportor: Stephen J. Williams, PhD.

Biden to announce appointees to Cancer Panel, part of initiative to cut death rate

The president first launched the initiative in 2016 as vice president.

By Mary Kekatos

July 13, 2022, 3:00 PM

Share

1:50

about:blank

America This Morning

America This Morning

President Joe Biden will announce Wednesday his appointees to the President’s Cancer Panel, ABC News can exclusively reveal.

The Cancer Panel is part of Biden’s Cancer Moonshot Initiative, which was relaunched in February, with a goal of slashing the national cancer death rate by 50% over the next 25 years.MORE: Biden relaunches cancer ‘moonshot’ initiative to help cut death rate

Biden will appoint Dr. Elizabeth Jaffee, Dr. Mitchel Berger and Dr. Carol Brown to the panel, which will advise him and the White House on how to use resources of the federal government to advance cancer research and reduce the burden of cancer in the United States.

Jaffee, who will serve as chair of the panel, is an expert in cancer immunology and pancreatic cancer, according to the White House. She is currently the deputy director of the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University and previously led the American Association for Cancer Research.

PHOTO: In this Sept. 8, 2016, file photo, Dr. Elizabeth M. Jaffee of the Pancreatic Dream Team attends Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), in Hollywood, Calif.
In this Sept. 8, 2016, file photo, Dr. Elizabeth M. Jaffee of the Pancreatic Dream Team attends Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), in Hollywood, Calif.ABC Handout via Getty Images, FILE

Berger, a neurological surgeon, directs the University of California, San Francisco Brain Tumor Center and previously spent 23 years at the school as a professor of neurological surgery.

Brown, a gynecologic oncologist, is the senior vice president and chief health equity officer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. According to the White House, much of her career has been focused on eliminating cancer care disparities due to racial, ethnic, cultural or socioeconomic factors.

Additionally, First Lady Jill Biden, members of the Cabinet and other administration officials are holding a meeting Wednesday of the Cancer Cabinet, made up of officials across several governmental departments and agencies, the White House said.

The Cabinet will introduce new members and discuss priorities in the battle against cancer including closing the screening gap, addressing potential environmental exposures, reducing the number of preventable cancer and expanding access to cancer research.MORE: Long Island school district found to have higher rates of cancer cases: Study

It is the second meeting of the cabinet since Biden relaunched the initiative in February, which he originally began in 2016 when he was vice president.

Both Jaffee and Berger were members of the Blue Ribbon Panel for the Cancer Moonshot Initiative led by Biden.

The initiative has personal meaning for Biden, whose son, Beau, died of glioblastoma — one of the most aggressive forms of brain cancer — in 2015.

“I committed to this fight when I was vice president,” Biden said at the time, during an event at the White House announcing the relaunch. “It’s one of the reasons why, quite frankly, I ran for president. Let there be no doubt, now that I am president, this is a presidential, White House priority. Period.”

The initiative has several priority actions including diagnosing cancer sooner; preventing cancer; addressing inequities; and supporting patients, caregivers and survivors.

PHOTO: In this June 14, 2016, file photo, Dr. Carol Brown, physician at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, gives a presentation, at The White House Summit on The United State of Women, in Washington, D.C.
In this June 14, 2016, file photo, Dr. Carol Brown, physician at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, gives a presentation, at The White House Summit on The United State of Women, in Washington, D.C.NurPhoto via Getty Images, FILE

The White House has also issued a call to action to get cancer screenings back to pre-pandemic levels.

More than 9.5 million cancer screenings that would have taken place in 2020 were missed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the National Institutes of Health.MORE: Louisiana’s ‘Cancer Alley’ residents in clean air fight

“We have to get cancer screenings back on track and make sure they’re accessible to all Americans,” Biden said at the time.

Since the first meeting of the Cancer Cabinet, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued more than $200 million in grants to cancer prevention programs, the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services implemented a new model to reduce the cost of cancer care, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office said it will fast-track applications for cancer immunotherapies.

ABC News’ Sasha Pezenik contributed to this report.

Biden to tap prominent Harvard cancer surgeon to head National Cancer Institute

Monica Bertagnolli brings leadership experience in cancer clinical trials funded by the $7 billion research agency

headshot of Monica Bertagnolli
Monica BertagnolliASCO; GLENN DAVENPORT

SHARE:

President Joe Biden is expected to pick cancer surgeon Monica Bertagnolli as the next director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Bertagnolli, a physician-scientist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the Dana-Farber Cancer Center, and Harvard Medical School, specializes in gastrointestinal cancers and is well known for her expertise in clinical trials. She will replace Ned Sharpless, who stepped down as NCI director in April after nearly 5 years.

The White House has not yet announced the selection, first reported by STAT, but several cancer research organizations closely watching for the nomination have issued statements supporting Bertagnolli’s expected selection. She is “a national leader” in clinical cancer research and “a great person to take the job,” Sharpless told ScienceInsider.

With a budget of $7 billion, NCI is the largest component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the world’s largest funder of cancer research. Its director is the only NIH institute director selected by the president. Bertagnolli’s expected appointment, which does not require Senate confirmation, drew applause from the cancer research community

Margaret Foti, CEO of the American Association for Cancer Research, praised Bertagnolli’s “appreciation for … basic research” and “commitment to ensuring that such treatment innovations reach patients … across the United States.” Ellen Sigal, chair and founder of Friends of Cancer Research, says Bertagnolli “brings expertise the agency needs at a true inflection point for cancer research.”

Bertagnolli, 63, will be the first woman to lead NCI. Her lab research on tumor immunology and the role of a gene called APC in colorectal cancer led to a landmark trial she headed showing that an anti-inflammatory drug can help prevent this cancer. In 2007, she became the chief of surgery at the Dana-Farber Brigham Cancer Center.

She served as president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in 2018 and currently chairs the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology, which is funded by NCI’s National Clinical Trials Network. The network is a “complicated” program, and “Monica will have a lot of good ideas on how to make it work better,” Sharpless says.

ADVERTISEMENT

One of Bertagnolli’s first tasks will be to shape NCI’s role in Biden’s reignited Cancer Moonshot, which aims to slash the U.S. cancer death rate in half within 25 years. NCI’s new leader also needs to sort out how the agency will mesh with a new NIH component that will fund high-risk, goal-driven research, the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H).

Bertagnolli will also head NCI efforts already underway to boost grant funding rates, diversify the cancer research workplace, and reduce higher death rates for Black people with cancer.

The White House recently nominated applied physicist Arati Prabhakar to fill another high-level science position, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). But still vacant is the NIH director slot, which Francis Collins, acting science adviser to the president, left in December 2021. And the administration hasn’t yet selected the inaugural director of ARPA-H.

Correction, 22 July, 9 a.m.: This story has been updated to reflect that Francis Collins is acting science adviser to the president, not acting director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: