USU to Host May 4th DoD Cancer Moonshot Roundtable

Shanti Durairaj, lead mammographer, Breast Imaging Center of the Murtha Cancer Center at Walter Reed, conducts a tomosynthesis mammogram, which allows providers to see a three-dimensional image of the breast.  (photo by Bernard Little, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center)

By Sarah Marshall

On May 4, the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) will host the Department of Defense Cancer Moonshot Roundtable, “A Conversation on Cancer Health Equity and Military-relevant Environmental Exposures,” as part of a day-long series of agency events sponsored by the White House Cancer Moonshot initiative.  

The roundtable will be led by USU’s Dr. Craig Shriver, director of the Murtha Cancer Research Program/Murtha Cancer Center, and will focus on cancer health equity and military-relevant environmental exposures. Participants will include:

  • Ms. Seileen Mullen, acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs – Host (DoD)
  • Dr. David Smith, acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs - Co-Host (DoD)
  • Craig D. Shriver, MD – Moderator
  • Jerry Lee, PhD, Chief Science and Innovation Officer, Ellison Institute for Transformative Medicine (virtual)
  • Jie Lin, PhD, MPH, Senior Epidemiologist, Murtha Cancer Center Research Program, Uniformed Services University
  • Patricia Hastings, DO, Chief Consultant, Health Outcomes Military Exposures, Veterans Health Administration
  • Warren Casey, PhD, acting Chief, Predictive Toxicology Branch, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health
  • Charles Felder, Chief Warrant Officer 4, U.S Army, Fort McNair, Cancer Survivor
  • Jennifer Jabara, Lt. Cmdr., U.S. Public Health Service, Cancer Survivor
  • Melinda DeLoatch-Speight, U.S. Coast Guard partner, Cancer Survivor 
  • Homa Shafii-Schweers, MC Captain partner, Cancer Survivor
  • Ramon Bravo, SSgt, U.S. Air Force, Cancer Survivor
  • Michael Christian, Sgt, U.S. Marine Corps, Cancer Survivor

In February 2022, President Biden reignited the 2016 White House Cancer Moonshot initiative, an effort across multiple federal agencies aimed to reduce the death rate from cancer by at least 50 percent over the next 25 years. The initiative is also focused on improving the experience of people and their families living with and surviving cancer, with a goal to ultimately end cancer.  As part of his efforts, the President also convened a Cancer Cabinet in March, which brings together agencies and other White House components to address cancer on multiple fronts to establish and make progress on Cancer Moonshot goals.

USU's Dr. Craig Shriver, director of the Murtha Cancer Research Program/Murtha Cancer Center, will lead a Department of Defense Cancer Moonshot Roundtable on May 4. (Courtesy image)
USU's Dr. Craig Shriver, director of the Murtha Cancer Research Program/Murtha
Cancer Center, will lead a Department of Defense Cancer Moonshot Roundtable on
May 4. (Courtesy image )
Throughout the day on May 4, numerous roundtable conversations will be held by various Cancer Cabinet agencies, highlighting initiatives and progress made across the federal government. The DoD’s roundtable discussion, led by Dr. Shriver, will focus on the military’s efforts to support this initiative. The public is invited to view the roundtable discussion via livestream. Several active duty cancer survivors will share their experiences and discuss the care they have received within the Military Health System. 

“Uniformed Services University’s Murtha Cancer Center Research Program is excited to be leading the Department of Defense’s efforts and conversations around the White House initiative for Cancer Moonshot 2,” Shriver said. “We developed two robust and ongoing programs during the original Cancer Moonshot and will leverage those lessons-learned as well as new opportunities to support the nation’s warfighters and veterans through our new DoD initiatives.”

Among the many efforts to support this initiative, the DoD will expand its signature clinical research program known as APOLLO, or Applied Proteogenomics Organizational Learning and Outcomes network. APOLLO launched in 2016 and incorporates proteogenomics into patient care as a way of looking beyond the genome, into the activity and expression of the proteins that a genome encodes. To date, this network includes 15 DoD and Veterans Affairs hospitals. It now includes studies looking at lung, breast, prostate, ovarian, pancreatic, testicular, and brain cancers, and has been expanded to all cancer types. The program will also be expanding its trial network to include every DoD hospital.

To join the virtual roundtable on May 4 from 1 to 2 p.m., visit this link