CancerX adds a dash of digital to Cancer Moonshot


A digital dimension has been added to the White House’s Cancer Moonshot programme with the launch of CancerX, a public-private partnership that will look at how digital innovations can contribute to the goal of reducing death rates from cancer in the US.

CancerX is being hosted by the Digital Medicine Society (DiMe) and Moffit Cancer Centre – with support from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH) – and is focusing initially on reducing “disparities and financial toxicity in cancer care and research.”

The formation of the scheme comes after President Joe Biden introduced a new phase of the Cancer Moonshot, with a new goal of cutting the death rate by at least 50% over the next 25 years, and improving the lives of patients and their families living with and surviving cancer.

“To achieve these goals, we must amplify digital innovation,” said Dr Catharine Young, assistant director of Cancer Moonshot Engagement and Policy at the White House.

“With DiMe and Moffitt’s leadership, this public-private partnership will advance best practices in cancer care, improve outcomes, and make real progress towards ending cancer as we know it,” she added.

The proposal to launch CancerX was first unveiled in February, and work will now begin in earnest as DiMe and Moffitt start initiatives such as developing evidence, best practice guides, and toolkits to help bring digital projects forward.

An accelerator programme is expected to get underway in October to provide mentorship, education, and exposure to funding opportunities for projects, with the aim of setting up pilots of digital approaches to improving cancer care. The intention is to move fast, with the first pilot or “demonstration project” scheduled to be ready in April 2024.

The process starts with a pre-competitive evidence generation project, the first of which has already started with the formation of a multi-stakeholder group of experts “to assess, quantify, and enhance the impact of digital solutions on cancer care cost, access, and outcomes dimensions.”

According to its hosts, the initiative is open to any working in the field who are “committed to working collaboratively and share a vision of unleashing the power of innovation to design and create a future that’s free of the burden of cancer.”

First launched in 2016, the Cancer Moonshot has generated more than 2,000 scientific papers, 49 clinical trials, and over 30 patent applications in areas, including immunotherapy, childhood cancer research, tumour mapping, cancer prevention and early detection, patient engagement, and tackling drug resistance.

Projects have also focused on how best to collect and share cancer data, which led to the recommendation to create a National Cancer Data Ecosystem expanding on the current Cancer Research Data Commons (CRDC) network.