World Cancer Day 2016: collaborative research key for treatment

Today is World Cancer Day (#WorldCancerDay). This year, the focus is that together we can conquer cancer – #WeCanICan. It is the idea that by sharing stories, information, and data, together we can understand more about cancer biology, cancer detection, cancer prevention, and cancer treatment. Everyone has a role to play and by sharing ideas, we can move the field forward. Such an understanding can significantly reduce the pain and suffering from cancer worldwide. To accomplish this goal, a continued collaborative research effort is essential among physicians, researchers, and patients for advances in precision medicine that can make a difference in cancer treatment.

As we increasingly employ precision medicine in cancer treatment, it is evident that cancer treatment is a coordinated effort. A treatment team includes medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, radiation oncologists, nurses, and many others who together develop a strategy to treat an individuals cancer. Likewise, cancer research is becoming a group effort that includes genomics, epigenomics, radiation biology, immunology, gene mutation, and gene regulation — to name a few specialities. There are several efforts to fund such integrated approaches including the newly developed Cancer Research UK Grand Challenges and the Stand Up To Cancer Dream Teams. Research is a collaborative effort that requires the funding and science policy support to be successful. This World Cancer Day, let’s support cancer research that brings together many perspectives to increase the understanding of cancer in a fundamental way.

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