Exciting developments are underway at MD Anderson as we move forward with the most ambitious endeavor in this institution’s history. The Moon Shots Program is gaining momentum through the tenacity of hundreds of clinicians and researchers focused on eradicating eight cancers initially selected for this comprehensive effort. Our goal is to drastically reduce cancer deaths and improve survivorship by developing new drugs, improving diagnostics, advancing prevention methods, shaping policy and more.
Prevention and early detection are crucial components of the plan to ensure a future free of cancer for our children and generations to come. That future looks promising thanks to a number of innovative MD Anderson initiatives locally and abroad.
The Moon Shot Program’s cancer prevention and control platform, for example, recently launched the Mexico and Texas Tobacco Control Initiative to reach Mexican and Mexican-American youths. We’re drawing on the success of MD Anderson programs such as ASPIRE (A Smoking Prevention Interactive Experience), an animated web-based, bilingual program that’s helped thousands of young people in Texas and across the world realize the dangers of smoking and tobacco use.
Closer to home, MD Anderson’s Tobacco Outreach Education Program shared ASPIRE and its smoking cessation message with 5,000 Corpus Christi-area middle schoolers at an interactive event made possible through the generosity of local MD Anderson Cancer Center Board of Visitors members. These efforts will stem the unacceptable statistics that 17% of children in Texas high schools smoke daily and that 3,800 children start smoking every day throughout the United States.
In early detection, the lung cancer moon shot team aims to attack cancer in its earliest and more curable stages. Using the combined power of serum biomarkers, advanced imaging technology and highly predictive risk models will develop more accurate, less expensive screening methods.
We must continue to deliver services that not only help detect and control cancer, but that also inspire parents, educators, legislators and others to help us stop this disease before it starts. It’s encouraging to note that 50% of cancers can be prevented. Additional lives will be saved by early detection. Still more will be rescued from the death grip of advanced disease through major advances in therapy, most notably immune therapy. With the generosity of people like you who support our mission and understand the urgency of our work, we can and will accomplish these goals. Thank you for joining us in Making Cancer History®.