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WASHINGTON — More than two dozen leading cancer researchers and advocates will advise Vice President Joe Biden’s cancer moonshot initiative as members of the Blue Ribbon Panel announced by the Obama administration Monday.

They come from top research institutes and cancer centers like the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Harvard Medical School, as well as pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer, and advocacy groups like Friends of Cancer Research.


Over the next few months, the panel will develop recommendations for the National Institutes of Health on everything from cancer vaccines to early detection to data sharing. It will also explore what research could be supported by a special funding stream proposed by President Obama in his most recent budget, part of a $755 million plan to fund the cancer initiative.

“We expect these efforts to build a firm foundation for the development of better means of prevention, treatment, and cure for all types of cancer,” wrote Dr. Francis Collins, director of the NIH, and Dr. Douglas Lowy, acting director of the National Cancer Institute, in a new article on the moonshot published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The panel includes Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, a biotech billionaire who has met with Biden and made headlines by launching his own “Cancer MoonShot 2020” earlier this year. His effort focuses on immunotherapy, an approach that boosts the body’s immune system to help it fight off cancer, which will also be part of Biden’s initiative.


It also includes Dr. Laurie Glimcher, a leading scientist who’s set to become the next CEO of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

The panel’s recommendations will be reported to the National Cancer Advisory Board, which advises the director of the National Cancer Institute. The end result will be a final report produced by the White House Cancer Moonshot Task Force and delivered to Obama by Dec. 31.

The Blue Ribbon Panel members are:

Tyler Jacks, PhD (CoChair)
chair, National Cancer Advisory Board, and director, Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Elizabeth Jaffee, MD (CoChair)
professor and deputy director for translational research, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Dinah Singer, PhD (CoChair)
acting deputy director and division of cancer biology director, National Cancer Institute

Peter Adamson, MD
professor and director, experimental therapeutics in oncology, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

James Allison, PhD
professor and chair of immunology, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

David Arons, JD
CEO, National Brain Tumor Society

Mary Beckerle, PhD
CEO and director, Huntsman Cancer Institute

Mitch Berger, MD
professor and chair, department of neurological surgery, University of California, San Francisco

Jeff Bluestone, PhD
A.W. and Mary Margaret Clausen distinguished professor in metabolism and endocrinology, University of California, San Francisco

Mikael Dolsten, MD, PhD
president, Pfizer worldwide research and development, and executive vice president, Pfizer

James Downing, MD
president and CEO, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Levi Garraway, MD, PhD
associate professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School, and assistant professor of medicine, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Gad Getz, PhD
director, cancer genome computational analysis group, Broad Institute

Laurie Glimcher, MD
professor of medicine and dean, Weill Cornell Medical College, and incoming president and CEO, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Lifang Hou, MD, PhD
associate professor of preventive medicine, Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Neal Kassell, MD
professor of neurosurgery, University of Virginia

Maria Elena Martinez, PhD
professor of family medicine and public health, reducing cancer disparities program, UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center

Deborah Mayer, PhD, RN
professor of adult and geriatric health, University of North Carolina School of Nursing, and director of cancer survivorship, UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center

Edith Mitchell, MD
F.A.C.P professor of medical oncology and associate director for diversity services, Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University

Augusto Ochoa, MD
professor of pediatrics and director, Stanley S. Scott Cancer Center, Louisiana State University

Jennifer Pietenpol, PhD
professor of oncology, professor of biochemistry, and director, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center

Angel Pizarro, MSE
technical business development manager, Amazon Web Services Scientific Computing and Research Computing

Barbara Rimer, DrPH
alumni distinguished professor and dean, University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health

Charles Sawyers, MD
chair, human oncology and pathogenesis program, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Ellen Sigal, PhD
founder and chair, Friends of Cancer Research

Patrick Soon-Shiong, MBBCh
founder, chair, and CEO, NantWorks

Chi Van Dang, MD, PhD
professor of medicine and director, Abramson Cancer Center, University of Pennsylvania

Wai-Kwan Alfred Yung, MD
professor of neuro-oncology and chair of clinical cancer care, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

An earlier version of this story incorrectly described Jeff Bluestone’s title. He is the A.W. and Mary Margaret Clausen distinguished professor in metabolism and endocrinology at the University of California-San Francisco.