St. Jude cancer research pioneering future efforts - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

St. Jude cancer research pioneering future efforts

James Downing (Source: WMC Action News 5) James Downing (Source: WMC Action News 5)

If you know or love someone who’s battled cancer, you understand how important it is that science makes progress in the fight against the disease.

Wednesday, a blue ribbon panel charged with speeding up cancer research released ten new recommendations aimed at advancing research, treatment, and cures for cancer.

“Cancer is a collection of many, many different diseases, and the only way to really beat cancer is an all-out war,” St. Jude CEO James Downing said.

Downing is leading the fight against pediatric cancer at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Downing is one of 28 cancer experts appointed to Obama administration’s cancer moonshot blue ribbon panel, which is led by vice president Joe Biden.

The panel is working to accelerate cancer research and accomplish in five years what would have taken a decade before they united.

“At this point in time, let's do something big,” Downing said. “Let's bring the community together, let's figure out those priorities, let's figure out how to infuse funds to support the best science and foster collaboration."

Downing said a big focus of the cancer moonshot recommendations is data sharing: using technology to share research on known traits of many cancers.

“To figure out, ‘how do we drug these so-called undruggable proteins?’ If we can figure out how to do that, that will help us better treat pediatric cancer and the output from that will have influence on adult cancer,” Downing said.

St. Jude freely shares all of its research with the world, free of charge. The new cancer moonshot focus invites institutions and individual experts to follow that tradition started in Memphis.

Cancer experts said the new focus on unifying researchers and avoiding duplication of effort has them more excited about progress in the field than they’ve had in decades.

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