Biden administration launches new accelerator to develop tools for fighting cancer

Steven Loeb · February 3, 2023 · Short URL:

This comes one year after the White House pledged to cut cancer rates in half over 25 years

Even as the risk of dying from cancer in the United States decreased over 30% from 1991 to 2019, it still continues to be the second most common cause of death in the US, with 1.9 million new cancer cases and over 600,000 deaths expected last year.

President Biden has been on the forefront of solving this problem for a while now, even going back to his time as Vice President: in 2016, he led the Cancer Moonshot project, something he revived in 2022, with the stated goal of reducing the death rate from cancer by at least 50 percent over the next 25 years. 

Now, a year later, the White House announced a slew of new initiatives to make that happen, 13 in all, including a new accelerator, called CancerX, from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), and Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH).

CancerX will look to develop tools, including digital solutions to improve cancer patient care coordination and communication, new software technology to help community organizations meet cancer patients where they are, and new platforms to support patients with their post-treatment care.

"This new public-private partnership will drive support for and accelerate the development of biotech and health tech startups solutions focused on the continuum of cancer care, including prevention, detection, treatment, and transitions in care. Organizations whose missions are aligned with the Cancer Moonshot goals will work together to surface innovative solutions and coordinate access to research, mentorship, resources, and other collaborative opportunities," the White House wrote.

"This work will help startups scale their business and work toward creating ‘challenge-focused’ solutions for cancer with health equity in mind."

CancerX follows in the footsteps of previous accelerators that have come out of the HHS InnovationX program accelerators, including KidneyX and PandemicX.

One of the other big announcements was new initiative from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), called the Childhood Cancer – Data Integration for Research, Education, Care, and Clinical Trials, which will support children and adolescents and young adults with cancer.

It will provide patient navigation support for families, while also establishing a portable, shareable, standardized cancer health record so that families can reach out for support and also have the opportunity to participate in research through clinical trials and data sharing initiatives.

In addition, it was announced that Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), which is part of HHS, will award $10 million to improve access to cancer screenings and early detection including patient navigation support services. This expands on the $5 million awarded to 11 health centers in 2022.

"Health centers that receive funding will conduct patient outreach in these communities to promote early detection of cancer, connect patients to screening services, and provide direct navigation assistance with accessing high quality cancer care and treatment, as needed," the White House wrote. 

Among the other announcements were the launch of local community-based activities by  National Minority Quality Forum (NMQF) to increase cancer screenings in at-risk communities, including a new online hub; Supergoop! donating SPF sunscreen to schools and communities to encourage children to start protecting their skin at a young age; the American Cancer Society and the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation launching a $10 million challenge grant to benefit five American Cancer Society Hope Lodges; Colorectal Cancer Alliance launching BlueHQ, a support hub for patients, survivors, and caregivers to navigate colorectal cancer; and a new coalition that will address the obstacles rural patient communities face accessing care. 

"The Cancer Moonshot has spurred tremendous action across the federal government and from the public and private sectors, building a strong foundation for the work ahead. Today, the Administration is announcing new actions from inside and outside of government that will drive additional progress, drawing us closer to ending cancer as we know it today," the White House wrote.

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