March 2, 2023

Eng invited to White House Cancer Moonshot forum

Vanderbilt’s Cathy Eng, MD, has been invited to participate in the White House Cancer Moonshot Colorectal Cancer Forum.

Cathy Eng, MD

Cathy Eng, MD, the David H. Johnson Professor of Surgical and Medical Oncology, has been invited to participate in the White House Cancer Moonshot Colorectal Cancer Forum.

She will be at the White House Complex on March 10 as administration officials provide updates on progress on several key Moonshot initiatives and seek input from patients, caretakers, oncologists and researchers. Eng, professor of Medicine, is co-leader of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Research Program at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center and director of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Young Adult Cancers Program.

The Cancer Moonshot initiative, spearheaded by then Vice President Joe Biden, was launched in 2016. Now that Biden is president, he has reignited the initiative and set a new national goal: cutting the death rate from cancer by at least 50% over the next 25 years while improving the experiences of people and their families who are living with and surviving cancer.

Eng is a highly respected expert on colorectal cancer, who last year led the international phase 3 FRESCO-2 study as co-principal investigator. Patients from the United States, Europe, Japan and Australia with metastatic colorectal cancer who had not responded to other treatments had “significant and clinically meaningful improvement” in overall survival when treated with the oral targeted therapy fruquintinib.

Eng is also an expert on treating the disease in younger patients and, last year, was the lead author of a paper published in The Lancet Oncology that detailed a comprehensive framework for addressing research challenges and patient needs for people younger than 50 with colorectal cancer. She serves as co-chair of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Gastrointestinal Cancer Steering Committee, which is responsible for supervising the agency’s clinical trials.

“I am honored to be able to provide insight and perspective on the importance of continued research in colorectal cancer as a cancer care provider, advocate and clinical researcher. We need to find additional treatment options for all stage 4 patients. But we still have much to accomplish for our early onset colorectal cancer patients,” Eng said.

“We must continue to promote awareness; identify why we are continuing to see an increased incidence of early onset CRC patients; identify novel screening methods and treatment approaches for these patients; and recognize their needs and optimize their psychosocial support. I have never considered it to be normal to see a patient in their 20s with stage 4 disease with no known risk factors. It should never be considered acceptable. We need to think outside of the box and advocate for increased pharmaceutical industry support and increased NCI funding.”

The forum on colorectal cancer is scheduled from 3 to 5:30 p.m. (EST) March 10 at the White House Complex.