MD Anderson’s Moon Shots Program: 5 things to know


While its name was inspired by President John F. Kennedy’s ambitious
goal to put a man on the moon, the Moon
Shots Program™
, which was first inspired by MD Anderson’s fourth
full-time president Ronald DePinho, M.D., has a different objective:
to quickly and effectively turn scientific discoveries into advances
in cancer care.

Here are five things that we’d like patients and caregivers to know
about the Moon Shots Program.

1. It’s a unique initiative

Cancer is a very complicated disease. While we’ve made tremendous
advances in our understanding of how it works in the past decade or
so, the traditional academic medical setting makes it hard to bring
experts together to translate this knowledge in a way that impacts
patients. The Moon Shots Program was conceived around the idea that we
could improve patients’ lives faster if we brought together experts
from various areas, and armed them with key resources to better
utilize new knowledge. This is what the Moon Shots Program does.

It’s about team-based approaches to key problems in cancer. It’s
about bringing together experts from many areas in a unique community
empowered by research platforms that provide resources that are
ordinarily difficult to obtain in the traditional academic medical
research setting. With regular scientific review of our processes and
progress, our goal is to achieve measurable impacts for patients. It’s
about leveraging generous philanthropic support to tackle research
areas and clinical initiatives that might otherwise be difficult to
fund and drive. It’s about the Moon Shot™ teams using this support to
gain new funding from additional sources so we can help more patients.

2. We’ve made significant progress towards cancer care since launch

Since its launch in 2012, the Moon Shots Program has made some major
advancements in cancer care. Below are just a few examples of the
progress that’s been made since the program launched five years ago.

3. There are 13 Moon Shots

The Moon Shots Program is currently focusing on the following 13
cancer types:

These initial 13 Moon Shots™ also enable us to learn more about
other cancer types, because advances made in one cancer type can
impact others. For instance, what we learn from these initial 13
cancer types can help us understand:

  • the role of mutations that are common across tumor types
  • shared patterns of the immune response
  • factors that
    cause cancer to progress
  • benefits of reducing common risk

4. The program relies on 10 research platforms

The research platforms are key to the entire program
and unique to the effort. They give the Moon Shots Program the unique
capability to go from discovery all the way to interventions and
treatments that impact patients’ lives. They provide the Moon Shots
with the technology needed to advance science and medicine, with
expert staffing and resources. Through these platforms, the Moon Shots
have direct access to several important capabilities and areas of
expertise that aren’t typically available to academic researchers, including:

  • Drug development
  • Prevention and outreach
  • Cancer genetics and proteomics
  • Immunology
  • Preclinical cancer modeling
  • Storage, processing
    and use of massive amounts of medical and scientific

5. The program impacts the full cancer care continuum

Developing new treatment options is a major focus of the Moon Shots
Program, but our efforts aren’t limited to cancer treatment. With
ongoing research projects focused on prevention, early detection,
treatment and survivorship, the Moon Shots Program aims to impact
patients at every stage of cancer care.

Request an appointment at MD Anderson online or by
calling 1-877-632-6789.