Almost 40 percent of men and women will be diagnosed with a form of cancer in their lifetime, but US President Obama is taking steps to significantly reduce the threat of the disease.  Washington has provided an average of $4.9 billion in funding for Cancer Research and has now launched The White House Cancer Moonshot Task Force.  Chaired by Vice President Joe Biden, the task force will work to fast-track patents and minimise examination times that could slow the progression of pharmaceutical research.

The White House Cancer Moonshot Task Force will focus on making the most of federal investments, targeted incentives, private sector efforts from industry and philanthropy, patient engagement initiatives, and other mechanisms to support cancer research - to enable the immediate progress in cancer patient treatment and care.

The dedicated task force will work with a number of federal agencies responsible for: basic; translational and clinical research; therapy development; the regulation of medical products and medical care related to cancer.  The taskforce aims to provide a decade’s worth of research and medical advances in the next five years, introducing more therapies to patients and improving the early detection of cancer.

President Obama charged the task force with producing a detailed set of findings and recommendations before December 2016, to:

  • Accelerate our understanding of cancer and its prevention, early detection, treatment, and cure
  • Improve patient access and care
  • Support greater access to new research, data, and computational capabilities
  • Encourage development of cancer treatments
  • Identify and address any unnecessary regulatory barriers and consider ways to expedite administrative reforms
  • Ensure optimal investment of federal resources
  • Identify opportunities to develop public–private partnerships and increase coordination of the federal government’s efforts with the private sector

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has launched Patents 4 Patients in a joint bid for faster results in cancer research.  The patent programme offers reduced examination time for patent applications in cancer therapy and will approve or deny applications in 12 months.  The process of product development, from idea to marketable product, is difficult to predict in the pharmaceutical industry.  The research and clinical trials necessary for drug development can take up to eight years, and require substantial investment.  Patent applications can take up to six years for consideration.  It is hoped the one-year turnaround will combat significant delays in therapy research.  Applications from bio-tech start-ups, universities and large pharmaceutical companies will also be accelerated after filing.

Pharmaceutical products do not even need to be in the latter phases of research to be fast-tracked.  The task force is committed to catapulting new treatments from conception, through regulatory approval, and to patients faster.

Cancer is a killer: accounting for 40 percent of all premature adult deaths.  Despite billions in funding, dedicated research teams and charities, a cure has yet to be found.  The process for pharmaceutical products – from idea conception to patient trials – cannot be rushed at the risk of patient safety.  The protection of intellectual property is critical in the pharmaceutical industry, but the patent process is a step that can be optimised to support faster developments in cancer research.  President Obama’s task force aims to appropriately fast-track the patent process for pharmaceutical firms – breaking down barriers that slow research progression without endangering patients.

CPA Global looks forward to accelerating and improving innovation life cycles by providing software, people and intelligent data to help drive cancer research in the future.