ASCO Celebrates the Cancer Moonshot on its Relaunch Anniversary

A Statement by Julie R. Gralow, MD, FACP, FASCO Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice President, American Society of Clinical Oncology
February 2, 2023

“Dedicated to making a world of difference in cancer care, the American Society of Clinical Oncology and its affiliated organization, the American Association of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), laud the goals, progress, and continued potential of the Cancer Moonshot initiative. Having the full support of the President and the resources of the federal government is essential to our shared goal of accelerating the pace of progress against a disease that will be diagnosed in more than 1.9 million people in the U.S. this year.

“Oncologists and their patients depend on the treatments and breakthroughs discovered through federal cancer research funding to provide timely, effective, and potentially curative care. The Cancer Moonshot is an exciting catalyst for collaboration and innovation from cancer prevention and detection through treatment and survivorship. 

“ASCO is committed to leveraging our strengths and expertise to contribute to this critical effort with programs that expand access to high-quality, equitable cancer care and research; make patient health records easier to share; utilize real world evidence; and increase participation of diverse populations in clinical trials, all of which enables better care coordination and delivers higher quality of care. 

“The landmark Cancer Moonshot initiative—along with the ongoing implementation of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H)—will help us to realize the promise and maximize the potential of the fast-paced and dynamic work being done across oncology care to meet the ambitious Moonshot goals in the years ahead. 

“The cancer community stands together in the effort to ‘end cancer as we know it’ and ASCO is proud to be leading critical collaborative efforts to meet that life-saving goal.” 

ASCO programs in support of the Moonshot include:

  • Real-world evidence: Aligned with the Cancer Moonshot goal of learning from all patients, ASCO’s flagship initiative, CancerLinQ®, uses real-world data from electronic health records to improve the quality of cancer care. CancerLinQ was developed by oncologists for oncologists to collect, aggregate and analyze data extracted from electronic health records to help get the right treatment to the right patients at the right time. With over 100 cancer care facilities participating across the country, and de-identified data having been collected from more than 6 million electronic health records, CancerLinQ’s longitudinal, real-world evidence enables cancer doctors to track their performance and progress against a set of quality measures, gain new insights into cancer care delivery, and ultimately identify opportunities to improve the quality of patient care. 
  • Data sharing for improved quality of care: In support of the goals of the Moonshot program ASCO, CancerLinQ® and other collaborators developed mCODE® (minimal Common Oncology Data Elements), a data standard for oncology. Developed under the leadership of then ASCO President Dr. Monica Bertagnolli, mCODE will enhance sharing of clinical information across the cancer community, enabling progress in quality initiatives, clinical research, and healthcare policy development. As a core set of non-proprietary, open-source structured data elements, mCODE establishes minimum recommended standards for the structure and content of oncology health record information, benefiting clinicians, patients, researchers, and other stakeholders across the oncology ecosystem. This standard language is now being tested by more than 60 health organizations and other stakeholders, including internationally. A growing community of developers and implementers are working to extend mCODE to new use cases in oncology, including matching patients to clinical trials, improving prior authorization, and facilitating cancer registry reporting through the CodeX™ organization, to ensure that common definitions drive high-quality computable data to enable learning from every patient with cancer.
  • Diversification of clinical trials: ASCO and the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) are working together to establish evidence-based practical strategies and solutions to help increase the participation of people historically underrepresented in cancer treatment trials. As part of this collaboration, the two organizations published a joint statement with recommendations for all stakeholders to work to ensure every individual with cancer has the opportunity to participate in high-quality, equitable cancer research. Additionally, ASCO and ACCC worked with 75 research sites to develop and test resources including, an implicit bias training program and site self-assessment, which are now freely available to the public.