Introduction

Despite decades of cancer research, cancer metastasis (the spread of cancer from the primary site throughout the body) still causes approximately 90% of all cancer-related deaths worldwide and in the U.S. specifically (American Cancer Society and World Health Organization). There is no cure for metastatic cancer of any type.

Translational metastasis researchers and clinicians of the Metastasis Research Society have partnered with patient advocates of METAvivor Research and Support Inc. and clinicians from the Sentinel Node Oncology Foundation to create a one-of-a-kind conference and webinar series meant to engage researchers, clinicians, and patients together in metastasis research to improve stage IV metastatic cancer patient outcomes and quality of life.  Year 1 of the project focuses on metastatic breast cancer specifically (2017-2018) and year 2 will be expanded to be inclusive of all metastatic cancer types (2018-2019).  More information on year 2 can be found here.

The goal of this project is to engage key stakeholders in cancer metastasis to strengthen and advance patient-centered metastasis research from basic translational research through clinical comparative effectiveness research (CER).  CER compares the use of existing therapies to improve patient outcomes relatively quickly.  We will also educate the metastatic patient community to enable them to make informed healthcare decisions, with the overall goal of improving stage IV patient outcomes and quality of life. 

Significance for Achieving Cancer Moonshot Goals of the NCI

In October of 2016, the White House released a briefing on Federal and private sector initiatives meant to fast-track breakthroughs in cancer treatment. The official Cancer Moonshot Task Force, led by US Vice President, Joe Biden, approved the initiatives.  The joint effort to fund grants specifically focused on metastatic cancer research between researchers and clinicians of the MRS and patient advocates of METAvivor Research and Support Inc. was officially accepted as a private sector commitment to advance Cancer Moonshot goals.

Significantly, this joint effort is the only approved effort within the Moonshot plans that focuses specifically on cancer metastasis.  METAvivor in collaboration with the MRS has committed to funding more than $1 million in metastasis research grants. This joint project will help to ensure these funds go toward supporting the most impactful patient-centered metastatic cancer research by identifying national translational and clinical research priorities for mestatic cancer of all types, identified and agreed upon by researchers, clinicians, and patients.

Project Collaborators/Organizers

Project collaborators include: translational metastasis researchers and clinicians of the Metastasis Research Society (MRS, project lead), patients/patient advocates of METAvivor Research and Support Inc. (project subcontractor), and clinicians of the Sentinel Node Oncology Foundation (SNOF, project partner - Cancer Metastasis logo).

Steering Committee MembersKate Bankaitis, PhD (MRS Director of Programs and Engagement), Irwin Gelman, PhD (MRS Director of Outreach), Conor Lynch, PhD (MRS Treasurer), Sonya Negley (METAvivor CEO), CJ (Dian) Corneliussen-James (METAvivor Co-Founder and President-emeritus), Patrick and Lisa Quinn (METAvivor Board of Directors), Kelly Parker (METAvivor Patient Advocate), Terlisa Sheppard (METAvivor Patient Advocate), Jonathan Zager, MD (SNOF Board of Directors), and Stan Leong, MD (SNOF President).


 

Support

Funding for this project was provided by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI, EA# 6102.FE.20170816).  Conference venue space was kindly provided in partnership with the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, FL.