President Barack Obama has established a new task force as part of an initiative that aims to support cancer research and enable progress for treatment of the disease.
As part of the effort — to be led by Vice President Joe Biden — the FDA will be tasked with developing a virtual Oncology Center of Excellence to leverage the combined skills of regulatory scientists and reviewers. The center will speed the development of companion diagnostic tests, as well as the use of combinations of drugs, biologics and devices to treat cancer.
Also, the National Institutes of Health will invest in developing and evaluating minimally invasive screening assays to enable more sensitive diagnostic tests for cancer. Recent advances in genomic and proteomic technologies have increased the sensitivity of methods to detect markers of the disease.
In an open letter sent to Biden last week, Nelson Mendes, chairman of the board at the Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance, committed to help with the “moonshot” initiative.
“Imaging provides doctors with otherwise impossible views into the anatomy and function of the body, allowing for confident decisions to be made about the best course of treatment. As these technologies advance, they will only become more critical to detecting, treating and ultimately curing cancer,” he says. — Jonathon Shacat