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Cancer researchers named to federal Moonshot committees

Robert Schreiber and Graham Colditz will serve as advisers to National Cancer Moonshot Initiative

May 18, 2016

Sara Moser

Two researchers at Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have been named as advisers to the National Cancer Moonshot Initiative. The effort is intended to maximize federal, industry and philanthropic investments in cancer research and to advance cancer care.

The scientists are Robert Schreiber, PhD, the Alumni Endowed Professor of Pathology and Immunology, director of the Center for Human Immunology and Immunotherapy Programs (CHiiPs) and co-program leader for tumor immunology at Siteman; and Graham Colditz, MD, PhD, the Niess-Gain Professor of Surgery, deputy director for the Institute of Public Health and associate director of prevention and control at Siteman.

The Moonshot initiative, led by Vice President Joe Biden, will rely in part on the recommendations of seven working groups comprised of leading cancer experts. The groups will consider input from cancer researchers and the public and ultimately will recommend how federal cancer research grants should be awarded next summer.


Schreiber is part of the Cancer Immunology and Prevention working group, which will consider new methods of treating cancer that increase the strength of a patient’s immune responses against tumors.

Colditz is part of the Implementation Sciences working group, which will consider methods for more effectively sharing information about new approaches for cancer prevention, risk assessment, screening, prognosis, treatment and survivorship.


The seven working groups also include those focused on pediatric cancer, early detection, tumor evolution and progression, expanding clinical trials and improved data sharing. The groups are to send detailed findings and recommendations to the National Cancer Advisory Board (NCAB) by late summer. Members of the NCAB include Timothy Ley, MD, the Lewis T. and Rosalind B. Apple Professor of Medicine at the School of Medicine, associate director for cancer genomics at The McDonnell Genome Institute and a research member at Siteman.

The National Cancer Institute, the principal federal agency for cancer research, will announce final recommendations in late summer. Research grants based on the recommendations are to be awarded in summer 2017.

Washington University School of Medicine‘s 2,100 employed and volunteer faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient-care institutions in the nation, currently ranked sixth in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.

Siteman Cancer Center, ranked among the top cancer treatment centers by U.S. News & World Report, also is one of only a few cancer centers in the U.S. to receive the highest rating of the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Comprising the cancer research, prevention and treatment programs of Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Siteman is Missouri’s only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center and the state’s only member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.