AACR Leaders Met With Vice President Biden's Office to Discuss Progress and Future of Cancer Research


WASHINGTON — In response to Vice President Biden’s quest for “a moon shot in this country to cure cancer,” the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) convened a distinguished panel of cancer researchers and physician-scientists who met with the vice president’s office to help realize his goal of making “an absolute national commitment to end cancer as we know it today.” Fifteen AACR members, who are among the most prestigious cancer researchers in the world, highlighted the considerable progress in cancer research that has led to tremendous potential in areas such as precision medicine and immunotherapy. These AACR members discussed their areas of cancer expertise sharing the remarkable science underway, and offered insight into priorities that can help achieve the vice president’s moon shot vision to cure cancer.

Also discussed were several initiatives spearheaded by the AACR such as Project GENIE (Genomics, Evidence, Neoplasia, Information, Exchange), which aims to facilitate clinical decision-making by linking the genetic profiles of tumors with clinical outcomes, and the AACR Cancer Progress Report, an annual chronicle of the progress made against cancer as told firsthand through the stories of cancer survivors. In the 2015 report, the AACR called for robust, sustained, and predictable funding increases for medical research, a viewpoint also shared by Biden and the majority of American voters as shown in a 2015 AACR poll.       

AACR representatives:

José Baselga, MD, PhD, current AACR president (2015-2016); physician-in-chief and chief medical officer, Memorial Hospital, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York

Charles L. Sawyers, MD, AACR past-president (2013-2014); chair, Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York

George D. Demetri, MD, current AACR board member; director of Center for Sarcoma and Bone Oncology and professor of medicine, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston

Patricia M. LoRusso, DO, current AACR board member; professor of medicine (medical oncology) and associate director of innovative medicine at Yale Cancer Center, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut

Elaine R. Mardis, PhD, current AACR board member; co-director of the McDonnell Genome Institute and professor of medicine, Washington University School of Medicine (Siteman Cancer Center at Washington University), St. Louis, Missouri

Victor E. Velculescu, MD, PhD, current AACR board member; co-director of cancer biology and professor of oncology, Johns Hopkins Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore

Arul M. Chinnaiyan, MD, PhD, director, Michigan Center for Translational Pathology, and professor of pathology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Jeffrey A. Engelman, MD, PhD, director of thoracic oncology, director of molecular therapeutics, and scientific director for the Termeer Center for Targeted Therapies, Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center; associate professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston

Pasi A. Jänne, MD, PhD, director, Lowe Center for Thoracic Oncology, scientific director, Belfer Institute for Applied Cancer Science, and senior physician, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston

Gordon B. Mills, MD, PhD, chair of systems biology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston

Donald W. (Will) Parsons, MD, PhD, co-director, Brain Tumor Program, co-director, Cancer Genetics and Genomics Program, and director, Pediatric Center for Personal Cancer Genomics and Therapeutics, Baylor College of Medicine (Texas Children’s Cancer Center), Houston

Barrett J. Rollins, MD, PhD, chief scientific officer, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston

David B. Solit, MD, director, Center for Molecular Oncology, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York

Nikhil Wagle, MD, physician and assistant professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston

Mary M. Zutter, MD, assistant vice chancellor for integrative diagnostics; Louise B. McGavock professor of pathology, microbiology, and immunology; professor of cancer biology; and director, Host-Tumor Interaction Program, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Nashville, Tennessee