Dr. Barbara K. Rimer, alumni distinguished professor and dean of the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health, has been named a member of a Blue Ribbon Panel of scientific experts, cancer leaders and patient advocates who will inform the scientific direction and goals for Vice President Joe Biden’s National Cancer Moonshot Initiative. Dean Rimer also chairs President Barack Obama’s Cancer Panel.
[Photo: Dean Barbara K. Rimer]
The panel was announced on April 4 by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health. The panel will serve as a working group of the presidentially appointed National Cancer Advisory Board (NCAB) and will provide scientific guidance from thought-leaders in the cancer community.
“This Blue Ribbon Panel will ensure that, as NIH allocates new resources through the Moonshot, decisions will be grounded in the best science,” said Vice President Biden. “I look forward to working with this panel and many others involved with the Moonshot to make unprecedented improvements in prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.”
Over the next several months, the panel will consider how to advance proposed themes for the initiative. Themes include the development of cancer vaccines, highly sensitive approaches to early detection, advances in immunotherapy and combination therapies, single-cell genomic profiling of cancer cells and cells in the tumor microenvironment, enhanced data sharing and new approaches to the treatment of pediatric cancers.
In addition, the cancer community, including the American public, will be provided a forum to post comments and insights to help inform the panel’s deliberations. The panel’s findings will be reported to the NCAB, which in turn will make its recommendations to NCI and contribute to the overall approach of the initiative.
“Thanks to advances in science, we are now in a historically unique position to make profound improvements in the way we treat, detect, and prevent cancer,” said NIH director Dr. Francis S. Collins. “The Vice President’s deep personal commitment to this noble cause will make a tremendous difference in our ability to lift the terrible burden of cancer. His call to action, including the establishment of this panel, comes at just the right time for all the right reasons.”
The Blue Ribbon Panel members represent a spectrum of scientific areas, including biology, immunology, genomics, diagnostics, bioinformatics, and cancer prevention and treatment. Scientific members also include investigators with expertise in clinical trials and cancer health disparities. Importantly, members of cancer advocacy groups and pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies will be represented on the panel and its working groups.