Cancer Moonshot initiative turning ‘death sentences to treatable diseases’

President Biden wants to see the cancer death rate reduced by another 50% over the next 25 years. Gibbs Cancer Center and Research Institute leading participation and representation in clinical trials.
President Biden wants to see the cancer death rate reduced by another 50% over the next 25 years.
Published: Mar. 7, 2023 at 5:52 PM EST
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Cancer deaths are dropping but research is still needed. In 2016, the White House launched the Cancer Moonshot initiative, a groundbreaking effort at the federal level to accelerate progress in research and prevention. And today, President Biden wants to see the cancer death rate reduced by another 50% over the next 25 years.

During his State of the Union address, President Biden was firm that he wants the nation to accelerate progress in cancer research.

“Turn more cancers from death sentences to treatable diseases,” he said Feb. 7. “Provide more support for patients and their families. It’s personal to so many of us.”

A pledge taken to heart by cancer survivor Julia Lyons.

“We have to put an emphasis on this,” Lyons said.

In 2015, Lyons was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a blood cancer.

“I was surprised and shocked because if you know the term health nut, I was a health nut all my life,” she said.

She’s also a physically vegetarian who called fighting the disease an agonizing journey.

“It is very painful because your blood runs throughout your body,” she said. “Very, very painful.”

Today, she’s a survivor, participating in a Cancer Moonshot clinical trial with Gibbs Cancer Center and Research Institute.

“The more people are involved in the studies, I think the more we will learn about the disease,” said Dr. Tondre Buck, MD, Gibbs Cancer Center Hematology.

Research to prevent others from having to go through years of discomfort, and even early death.

“We wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for studies like this and I think the more and more you learn about a cancer, or an enemy – the effective we can be in the future,” Dr. Buck said.

Dr. Buck says Gibbs Cancer Center and Research Institute is leading the nation in participants. Roughly three-dozen patients are part of the Moonshot clinical biobank.

“How does cancer behave, why does it behave different,” Dr. Buck said. “Why do I have two patients with the same cancer – one of them progresses, and one of them doesn’t.”

But he says that’s just one part of cancer research. Dr. Buck believes more representation in clinical treatment trials is another.

“When we talk about things like clinical trials we have to get minorities on clinical trials, so we can get real data,” he said.

Pointing to data on cancer disparities for populations like African Americans, for example, a group that’s having worse outcomes, and more premature deaths.

“To me lack of representation skews the data,” Dr. Buck said. “You want data that’s representative of the population that you’re in. Hence, when we talk about studies that come from the National Cancer Institute, that’s the reason they open them at all these different sites.”

Dr. Buck says in addition to more diversity in clinical trials, he’d also like to see more overall participation.

“(For) cancers across the board – colon cancer, myeloma, prostate cancer,” he said.

Adding a diverse population of lives depends on it.

“This is a complicated question. This is not a straight-line question,” Dr. Buck said. “This is about patients and physicians. All of the above.”

If you’re interested being a participant in a Gibbs Cancer Center and Research Institute clinical trial, visit