The MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston wants to spend as much as $3 billion over the next decade reducing deaths related to several types of cancer or even curing those diseases altogether.
Doctors at the hospital and cancer research center, the largest in the country, announced their "Moon Shots" program this week, so called because it is inspired by President John F. Kennedy's pledge in the early 1960s to put a man on the moon.
"The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center has launched an ambitious and comprehensive action plan, called the Moon Shots Program, to make a giant leap for patients – to dramatically accelerate the pace of converting scientific discoveries into clinical advances that reduce cancer deaths," the hospital says on its Web site. "The nation’s No. 1 hospital for cancer care, with its unparalleled resources and capabilities, is uniquely positioned to accelerate the end of cancer. It’s closer than you think. What’s learned from these initial cancer “moon shots” will ultimately lead to cures for all types of the disease."
Some of the cancers the hospital will focus on include ovarian, breast, lung, prostate, melanoma and leukemia.
"Even as the number of cancer survivors in the US is expected to reach an estimated 11.3 million by 2015, according to the American Cancer Society, cancer remains one of the most destructive and vexing diseases," the center said in a release announcing the new program. "An estimated 100 million people worldwide are expected to lose their lives to cancer in this decade alone. The disease’s devastation to humanity now exceeds that of cardiovascular disease, tuberculosis, HIV and malaria – combined."