Moonshot Live from #MIS2016

Photo credit Mikkael Sekeres, MD @MikkaelSekeres

I had the privilege to attend the opening keynote of the 2016 Medical Innovation Summit and hear Vice President Joe Biden speak about the Cancer Moonshot Initiative.

The ultimate goal, as listed on the Moonshot’s website: to make a decade’s worth of advances in cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment in five years.

In his final State of the Union address, President Obama asked the Vice President to head up a new national effort to end cancer, as we know it. Getting that done isn't just going to take the best and brightest across the medical, research, and data communities — but millions of Americans taking ownership for a stake in it.

Read the stories about the initiative on, as well as the White House facts sheets for investing in the Cancer Moonshot, Cancer Moonshot Summit, international cancer research and care, and cancer clinical trials.
What’s the Moonshot about?

It’s about:

  1. Injecting the urgency of ‘now’
  2. Changing the culture and developing a new strategy for this fight

How will we achieve the Moonshot? Nixon declared a war on cancer in 1971. What’s different since then in the fight against cancer?

  • We are training new scientists.
  • We have clear strategies to win, like aggregating 45+ years of cancer research resulting in large volumes of data.
  • We recognize that aggregating, sharing and analyzing data using super computers will result in billions of billions calculations per second being performed.

The Vice President championed a paradigm shift from ‘individual research recognition’ to ‘increasing the collaboration and value of team science.’ We must break down silos at both private and public levels that impede collaboration.

The Cancer Moonshot Summit was held earlier this year with over 7,000 participants that established 70 new public actions. Organizations like IBM Watson, Amazon and Microsoft have stepped up to the plate with cognitive learning and cloud computing resources.

We need innovation.  We need innovation, patients need to have data ownership and we need to share medical data at the research level. The technical framework developed by IHE (Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise) is an example of work done to enable sharing information across organizations. IHE has published specifications available in the public domain to enable standards-based, multi-vendor integration of health IT such as magnetic resonance imaging systems.

The Moonshot is contributing to the innovation conversation. How else can innovation in science and medicine transform the health system to save lives?  

HIMSS; healthcare; health IT