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Vanderbilt research presented at Cancer Moonshot meet

Dec. 8, 2023, 2:50 PM

Bob Coffey, MD
Bob Coffey, MD

by Bill Snyder

On Nov. 17, Bob Coffey, MD, an internationally recognized expert on colorectal cancer from Vanderbilt University Medical Center, was invited to present his research to representatives of President Joe Biden’s reignited Cancer Moonshot initiative.

Biden, who as vice president launched the original Cancer Moonshot initiative in 2016, has set a new national goal that includes reducing the death rate from cancer by at least 50% over the next 25 years.

Coffey, the Ingram Professor of Cancer Research, and co-director of the Epithelial Biology Center at VUMC, joined 10 other researchers from around the country in a colorectal cancer listening session to discuss ways to accelerate knowledge and improve outcomes for patients.

The session, held in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building adjacent to the White House, was hosted by Danielle Carnival, PhD, deputy assistant to the President for the Cancer Moonshot, and deputy director for Health Outcomes in the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy.

Coffey emphasized to the group the importance of basic investigation in this enterprise. “I was gratified to see how well received was the work we have accomplished at Vanderbilt and the strategies underway to improve the diagnosis and treatment of colorectal cancer patients,” he said.

VUMC’s strength in epithelial biology and colorectal cancer research is reflected in the receipt of major program grants from the National Cancer Institute. Among them:

  • Establishment of a Specialized Program in Research Excellence in Gastrointestinal Cancer (GI SPORE) in 2002, one of four in the country.
  • Inclusion in 2018 in the Human Tumor Atlas Network (HTAN), part of the original Cancer Moonshot initiative and, in 2022, the Translational and Basic Science Research in Early Lesions (TBEL) program.

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