NIH, drug companies launch Cancer Moonshot partnership

NIH, drug companies launch Cancer Moonshot partnership
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A new public-private research collaboration launched Thursday in an effort to increase the number of therapies aimed at attacking cancer.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is partnering with 11 biopharmaceutical companies to form the Partnership for Accelerating Cancer Therapies (PACT), a five-year, $215 million initiative. It’s part of the Cancer Moonshot, an effort pushed by former Vice President Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenOvernight Tech: FCC won't delay net neutrality vote | Google pulls YouTube from Amazon devices | Biden scolds social media firms over transparency Medicaid funds shouldn't be used to subsidize state taxes on health care Biden hits social media firms over lack of transparency MORE after he lost his son to brain cancer in 2015.

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“This new public-private partnership is a significant step forward in the battle against cancer and a real boost to the potential of immunotherapy,” Eric Hargan, who became the acting Health and Human Services secretary earlier this week, said in a statement. “We are excited for this partnership, which will strengthen efforts already underway across HHS.”

The partnership will work to advance new immunotherapy treatments, which use the immune system to fight cancer. Additional research is needed to understand how these therapies work for some and to be able to predict a patient’s response.

“We have seen dramatic responses from immunotherapy, often eradicating cancer completely for some cancer patients,” NIH Director Francis Collins said in a statement. “We need to bring that kind of success — and hope — for more people and more types of cancers, and we need to do it quickly. A systematic approach like PACT will help us to achieve success faster.”

Among other efforts, the partnership will also help facilitate information sharing to help decrease duplicative research, increase coordination and more.

Each of the 11 biopharmaceutical companies will contribute as much as $1 million every year for five years through NIH’s nonprofit charity foundation. NIH will contribute $160 million over five years, as long as the funds are available.