*With this artefact I am cheating slightly as the artefact itself will not be launched until 2020. However, due to my own fascination of the subject, I think it is worth the risk.*
Cancer Breakthroughs 2020 (previously known as the Moonshot Project) aims to help cure the collective group of cancer by improving the sharing of information between various hospitals, research centres, biotech companies and conducting several clinical trials in the field of immunotherapy, with as many as 20,000 patients. These trials are intended to later be followed by larger trials.
The project was first mentioned in January 2015 during a speech which Vice President Biden made in the Rose Garden, triggered by the death of Bidens’ son to cancer. On January 12, 2016 during his State of the Union Address, President Obama officially announced the goal stating “Let’s make America the country that cures cancer once and for all”.
“Significant breakthroughs in molecular science, supercomputing technology, and a willingness across the entire healthcare continuum to change the paradigm for cancer care.”
The goal of the Cancer Breakthroughs 2020 project - Facebook page
The word cancer does not refer to only one disease but a collection of more than a hundred different diseases, each with their own wide-ranging characteristics, risk factors, causes and treatments. What works on one patient does not necessary work on another. Every sixth death in the world is due to some form of cancer, making it the second leading cause of death.
Lesson 1 - Follow the money, stay sceptical.
It is easy to overlook any negative associations with such a noble and just cause, but with over a billion dollars going towards this project, from both private and public funding, one must ask what are the implications of this funding? Where does the private money come from and for what reason?
It is unfortunate that one must take such a sceptical view upon such project whose goal is focused upon good, but bad actors appear in the best of places, and it would be naive to assume that there would not be people hoping to benefit from such a scheme.
Lesson 2 - Fight the disease. Together.
Even before Nixons “war on cancer” cancer has been, rightfully, viewed as a threat to humankind. However, the data and information that individual hospitals and research clinics have gathered has in the past been notoriously difficult to assess and share. If this wealth of information could have been assessable earlier, further breakthroughs and advancements could have been made. Every life saved is one less broken family.