By Robin Levy
IMF Senior Director, Public Policy & Advocacy
There are many new ideas in the cancer public policy space, with two proposals to help cancer patients being discussed most frequently: President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot initiative and the creation of a new agency known as ARPA-H.
The Cancer Moonshot concept is not new. In 2016, Vice President Joe Biden led the Cancer Moonshot with the mission to accelerate the rate of progress against cancer.
Now, President Biden has reignited the Cancer Moonshot and set a new national goal: “If we work together, we can cut the death rate from cancer by at least 50% over the next 25 years, and improve the experience of people and their families living with and surviving cancer.”
To learn more about the Cancer Moonshot, visit whitehouse.gov/cancermoonshot.
The IMF has been actively participating in working to shape these efforts. The IMF led the Coalition to Improve Access to Cancer Care (CIACC), a group of advocacy organizations, in sending a letter supporting the Cancer Drug Parity Act and sharing the importance of addressing access issues. You can view our letter at access2cancercare.org.
Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H)
President Biden is proposing the establishment of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) in order to improve the U.S. government’s capabilities to speed research that can improve the health of all Americans. ARPA-H will support research that would provide transformative solutions for a range of diseases, including cancer and Alzheimer’s. ARPA-H will be modeled on the Defense Advances Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to help accelerate research.
The White House states that their intention with ARPA-H is to “make pivotal investments in breakthrough technologies and broadly applicable platforms, capabilities, resources, and solutions that have the potential to transform important areas of medicine and health for the benefit of all patients and that cannot readily be accomplished through traditional research or commercial activity.” Specifically, cancer is one of the diseases they aim to address through treatments, prevention tactics and, ultimately, cures.
The Health Subcommittee on Energy & Commerce (E & C) approved Subcommittee Chair Anna Eshoo’s bill authorizing ARPA-H. Additionally, U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra announced that ARPA-H would be established administratively within the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as an independent entity.
ARPA-H has the potential to produce innovative myeloma research in the future. As always, the IMF will work hard to ensure that the myeloma patient perspective is included in these and any other future programs and initiatives.
To learn more about our advocacy activities or to contact your legislators directly, visit advocacy.myeloma.org. To subscribe to the IMF Advocacy Newsletter, visit subscribe.myeloma.org. To learn more about how you can help, contact us at [email protected]. We welcome your engagement, questions, and ideas.
(This article was published in the 2022 Summer Edition of the IMF's quarterly publication, Myeloma Today. Read the full publication here.)