Cancer Therapy: Shooting for the Moon
The drug development paradigm is rapidly evolving from its longstanding “siloed” corporate structure to one based more on partnerships among industry, academia, and the regulatory agencies. These partnerships take advantage of the individual strengths that have existed in each sector but reflect the need for enhanced collaboration. In 2016, the White House Cancer Moonshot brought this need for increased collaboration in oncology to the public's attention through recognition that in this era of advanced technologies and rapid accumulation of data, there is not only a need to have knowledge readily accessible and interactive, but also a need for strategic partnerships among public and private sectors to allow key in silico, basic, clinical, and population‐based experiments to be conducted that will advance the field. To help define a national cancer research blueprint, the National Cancer Advisory Board assembled a Blue Ribbon Panel of 28 scientific experts and other stakeholders that provided transformative recommendations to accelerate progress against cancer after consulting more than 150 experts and reviewing more than 1,600 suggestions from the public.1 With strong bipartisan support, the 21st Century Cures bill was passed by Congress on December 7, 2016, with funding “to support cancer research, such as the development of cancer vaccines, the development of more sensitive diagnostic tests for cancer, immunotherapy, and the development of combination therapies, and research that has the potential to transform the scientific field, that has inherently higher risk, and that seeks to address major challenges related to cancer.”2 These new resources will help not only to implement recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Panel, but also to encourage continued cooperation amongst academia, government, and industry to develop new partnerships that minimize the potential of generating additional siloes in the future.
In this issue, devoted to the implications and advances in oncology therapeutics, novel descriptions of new paradigms for many components of the drug development process are presented. If advanced appropriately, these partnerships have the potential to substantially change the way the drug development paradigm is approached. The implications of success will not only enhance the availability of better oncology therapies available to US patients, but also make these therapies available to the global community. These are important approaches that will need to be carefully assessed in the coming years, but for the moment serve as a new baseline and present an exciting glimpse into the future. It will be important for organizations, such as the American Society for Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics and its membership, to take the lead in judiciously and thoughtfully shaping and evaluating these approaches.