Simultaneous “moonshot” summits unite cancer fighters across USA

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Simultaneous “moonshot” summits unite cancer fighters across USA

A “moonshot summit” is meeting to focus on the renewed national effort to better prevent and treat cancer.

Like millions of Americans, Claudia Hall has suffered through the pain and indignities of cancer and emerged a survivor. So she wanted to lend her voice, perspective and passion to the nation’s “cancer moonshot,” which aims to double the pace in the fight against the disease.

The 56-year-old colorectal cancer survivor joined about 100 others at the University of Kentucky’sMarkey Cancer Center moonshot summit on Wednesday, one of 32 similar gatherings at American Association of Cancer Institutes cancer centers across the nation. Those summits — among 270 related events attracting about 6,000 people nationally — reflected a singular, simultaneous focus on finding better ways to prevent, treat and speed up research into a disease that touches nearly every family. Each summit will pass along ideas to the White House, which also announced several cancer-related initiatives.

Spearheading the moonshot is Vice President Biden, who lost his son, Beau, to brain cancer last May.

“When I first heard of the moonshot, I thought, ‘This is real. This is something he has a passion for,'” said Hall, of Lexington who was treated at Markey in 2014. “So I was very excited, because research is everything.”

President Obama announced the moonshot during the State of the Union address in January, and said there would be $1 billion in funding for the project over the next two years that will go toward developing vaccines, improving cancer detection and analyzing the genetic makeup of tumors, among other things. The goal is to make a decade’s worth of advances in five years.

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