Cancer Moonshot Summit: Some ideas for improving cancer research, care come from Milwaukee

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MILWAUKEE -- Vice President Joe Biden hosted the "Cancer Moonshot Summit" Wednesday, June 29th, and accompanying events were held in more than 270 locations -- including at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Across the country on Wednesday, the brightest medical minds weighed in on how to improve cancer research and care. The goal is to double the rate of progress -- doing in five years what would currently take 10.

"This is a renewed commitment, a renewed investment in cancer research," Dr. James Thomas, associate director of translational research at the Medical College of Wisconsin said.

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Biden quarterbacked the "Cancer Moonshot Summit" Wednesday, which included more than 270 events in communities across the country.

Dr. James Thomas

Dr. James Thomas

"There's a lot of good ideas out there. We've got to figure out which ones work, which ones don't work, how to make them better," Dr. Thomas said.

Dr. Thomas said clinical trials are at the root of that process. That was the topic this group chose to focus on.

"All the advances that we have involve clinical trials, so when we discover things in the lab, we have to do clinical trials to prove what works and what doesn't work," Thomas said.

Cancer Moonshot Summit

Cancer Moonshot Summit

More than 200 people attended the event at the Medical College of Wisconsin -- brainstorming ways to provide the best trials and get patients involved.

"We know nationally only about three percent of people engage in clinical trial with a diagnosis of cancer and we think that number can be much higher," Thomas said.

The group was set to report their recommendations to Biden at the end of the event.

"I think we should be optimistic about the opportunity. It can help direct national funding towards the biggest barriers or gaps in the clinical research enterprise," Dr. Douglas Rizzo, cancer service line director at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Cancer Moonshot Summit"

Cancer Moonshot Summit"

President Barack Obama first issued the call for a cancer "moonshot" to accelerate research during his State of the Union address in January 2016.

You may remember that President Kennedy also issued a moonshot when calling for the country to put a man on the moon.