Saturday, 13 February 2016

‘Moonshot’ Metaphor on Cancer Is a Failure to Communicate

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We can agree to stop calling her cancer Moonshot?

How President Obama, Vice President Joe called to treat a cancer in his State of the Union address last month, Biden will lead.

"I've been put in charge of mission control," Mr. Obama said in his address. "We lost, we can still make it safe for the treatment of cancer once and for all to those wanting to families, the United States."

The White House released the details in the "National Cancer Moonshot's," budget was close to $ 1 billion. A billion dollars.

Why has latched onto by the media that you can see. A goal that was achieved eight years later - "The Moonshot of" stirring 1961 speech, President John F. Kennedy, they can send a man on the moon and safely return the space program are it is said for the echoes.

It has become a popular metaphor for the National Cancer treatment. In 1971, President Richard Nixon announced the Union speech this so-called war on cancer in the state. Here is what he said: ". Time is the man to split the atom and the moon is the same kind of attention when the US attempts should be made to conquer this fear of illness" George W. Bush he was running for president in 2000, he, too, called for the treatment of cancer for a "medical Moonshot's".

Even fictional presidents have made the moon landing. In an episode of "The West Wing," staff members have been cited as evidence that could be achieved in treating a cancer within 10 years was developed draft language for the State of the Union address moon landing. The show, clipped speech of the proposal.

Yet describes the good old US data and a seemingly impossible task that was achieved through a lot of federal spending is the appealing metaphor Moonshot. Decades of research, however, has proposed, NASA's space program is not a good comparison.

Nixon began with the $ 100 million National Cancer Institute has become increasingly evident. Then, a disease that can be treated using many cancer scientists used a strategy thought. Very little attention and it was not a government cancer research. This time, it made sense to compare space.

Mr. Biden's priorities emphasize how much has changed that thinking. We now have complex causes and triggers cancer, a disease, but many do not know, and that there will be no single cure for all of them. Just look at the array of measures including under the Moonshot: The combination vaccine for certain cancers, treatment immunotherapy to treat others, even other types of drugs.

What is the treatment of cancer, of course, there are many opportunities for improved significantly since the 1970s, and improvements. But being faster in some cases the most promising new treatment in the fight against cancer only on narrow slices, fragmented and has become more subtle.

As the name suggests a broad, revolutionary new set of measures, but Biden Program funding represents a small part of the current national expenditure on cancer research. Total - about a billion dollars - when compared to recent Powerball lottery seems like a lot - or inflation Nixon's initial investment of $ 600 million in adjusted dollars - but it really is not much more money evenDr as. Evil comes to finally realize.

This is a small part of the nearly $ 4 trillion federal budget. Bloomberg and as identified in the recent health reporters, 160 billion dollars of the cost of the original $ Moonshot; National Cancer Institute annual budget is $ 5.2 billion, and the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development (although my colleague Aaron Carroll argues that the numbers are inflated) cost to bring a new drug to market is estimated at about $ 1.4 billion.

Cancer researchers the possibility of providing additional funding, has not enjoyed regular funding increases in recent years, which was welcomed as the budget is tight. But this does not mean that $ 1 billion will change their job.

The White House can call the National Cancer Moonshot. But we do not need to do.

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