News, Jazz, NPR
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Local / State

Moffitt Cancer Center Invites Public To Help Find Cure For Cancer

john_demuro.jpg
Moffitt Cancer Center
"You don't need to be a scientist or doctor to play a part in curing cancer," John DeMuro said. He is the Federal Legislative Affairs Director for the Moffitt Cancer Center

President Barack Obama in his State of the Union address called for renewed vigor in the fight against cancer. Drawing parallels to John F. Kennedy’s goal to place a man on the moon, Obama charged Vice President Joe Biden to lead a national “moonshot” initiative to eliminate the disease responsible for the deaths of almost 600,000 U.S. citizens’ a year.

Today, the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa will hold a community “moonshot summit” in conjunction with an all-day conference that Biden will broadcast to cancer research facilities across the country.

Moffitt Cancer Center’s summit will be open to the public. Its goal is to generate ideas from the community on collaboration and effective approaches to prevent and cure cancer.

John DeMuro, Moffitt’s legislative affairs director, said that community outreach is important to find a cure.

“You don’t need to be a scientist or doctor to play a part in curing cancer,” he said.

DeMuro suggested that the community could provide valuable insight into decreasing the number of people who are diagnosed with preventable cancer. He also said that the number of patients who participate in clinical trials is poor.

“While we are at a time when many breakthroughs in cancer medicine are being developed,” he said. “We have a situation where only 5 to 10 percent of cancer patients are participating in clinical trials.”

The Moffitt Cancer Center is the only Comprehensive Care Center in Florida designated by the National Cancer Institute. There are only 69 NCI-Designated Cancer Centers, located in 35 states and the District of Columbia.

Vice President of Moffitt Alan F. List, M.D. and Center Director Thomas Sellers, Ph D., M.P.H will host the summit, along with a number of leading scientists. They will highlight top research initiatives and efforts to accelerate progress in cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care.

Moffitt will also present information about the work they’ve done with immunotherapy treatment.

"Immunotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that harnesses the power of the body's immune system to modify cancer cells and stop disease progression," DeMuro said.

There are five immunotherapy drugs on the market, and DeMuro says that Moffitt has played a critical role in developing them.

All ideas from the event will be submitted to the Whitehouse Moonshot Taskforce, which is led by Vice President Biden. The fight against cancer is a personal one for the Vice President, who lost his son to brain cancer in 2015. The Moonshot Taskforce is dedicated to organizing Federal investments into efforts in research and progress towards treatment and care.

In February, the Obama administration dedicated one billions dollars to cancer research in conjunction with the moonshot effort, which the Moonshot Taskforce will grant to cancer research programs.

Regional summit meetings will be held across the country and at a critical time. June marks the half way point for the year, and time is running out for Biden’s moonshot goal.

The summit will take place from 2-4 p.m. at the Moffitt Cancer Center Ted Couch Auditorium, 12902 Magnolia Dr. For more information or to RSVP email policyforum@moffitt.org. 

WUSF 89.7 depends on donors for the funding it takes to provide you the most trusted source of news and information here in town, across our state, and around the world. Support WUSF now by giving monthly, or make a one-time donation online at WUSF.org/give.