September 16, 2016

Cancer Moonshot Would Boost Metabolic PET Imaging

Metabolic positron emission tomography and emerging nuclear medicine technologies are mentioned among recommendations to double the rate of cancer research and clinical progress identified in a report by Vice-President Joe Biden’s Cancer Moonshot Blue Ribbon Panel.

The report, presented Sept. 7 to the National Cancer Institute’s National Cancer Advisory Board (NCAB), outlined 10 recommendations for generating 10 years of progress in the next five years for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

In developing its recommendations, the panel focused on areas where increased funding and improved infrastructure could lead to rapid advances to improve outcomes for significant numbers of patients.

Diagnostic imaging was mentioned in the context of a recommendation favoring the development of new enabling cancer technologies that will accelerate therapy testing and tumor characterization. According to the report, these technologies include “new patient imaging approaches, such as radiologic imaging, nuclear medicine imaging methods using new metabolic probes and PET imaging using labeled antibodies, as well as methods that allow the results of different imaging technologies to be combined; and computational platforms that allow integration of data derived from these studies.”

The NCAB voted to accept the Blue Ribbon Panel report with additional language to clarify that there is no intent to create new cooperative groups to address the Cancer Moonshot proposals. NCI officials emphasized that the recommendations will not supplant current NCI priorities and research.

President Barack Obama announced the Cancer Moonshot in his final State of the Union Address in January. Biden, whose son Beau succumbed to brain cancer in 2015, was assigned to lead the initiative.