May is Cancer Research Month, a time to highlight the importance of cancer research – to both celebrate the lifesaving advances that have been accomplished to date, as well as rally support for the work still to be done.  

At Fight Colorectal Cancer (Fight CRC), we celebrate and support research in a number of ways including helping patients participate in research through our Clinical Trial Finder, empowering survivors to push for more federal funding for cancer research, and convening leaders in the research community around opportunities for innovation and advancement. 

Research Intersecting with Advocacy: Path to a Cure Report and Think Tank Meeting

In December, Fight CRC released our Path to a Cure report, a professional, multidisciplinary publication, which seeks to summarize and communicate a plan for our community to rally around: pushing forward critical areas of research; care for patients; and policy — from prevention to survivorship. 

We also hosted our first Path to a Cure Think Tank focused on treatment. We convened leaders in the colorectal cancer research community to address the tough reality that the overall survival rates for late-stage colorectal cancer have not seen much improvement in the past decade, and stronger treatments and clinical trial improvement are imperative for progress. We pushed participants to think boldly to identify gaps in knowledge, as well as the most promising areas of focus for research.

The Think Tank specifically addressed efforts to ensure those who have the most difficult to treat disease, late-stage MSS colorectal cancer, have more options for treatment. Now is the time we roll up our sleeves and get to work on putting the strategies identified at the Think Tank into action. More to come!

Research and Advocacy Working Hand in Hand

The work doesn’t stop with these convenings. Advocacy is an important part of moving Path to a Cure forward. The federal government spends billions of dollars on medical research each year. It’s up to us to raise our voices to ensure that colorectal cancer is prioritized by the various federal agencies that fund research. 

 We are doing this in two specific ways: 

  1. Directing the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to create a strategic action plan for colorectal cancer. 

Colorectal cancer research has not been prioritized within the NCI. Not only is it important for additional dollars to be directed toward colorectal cancer research, but it’s also important that the NCI develop a plan – with the input of experts in the colorectal cancer community, including patients – for how those dollars would be best spent. 

  1. Pushing for the creation of a Colorectal Cancer Research Program at the Department of Defense (DoD) 

Many people don’t think of the DoD when thinking of medical research, but the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) within DoD conducts critical, high impact research that isn’t being done at NCI. Of the top five cancer killers, colorectal cancer is the only cancer without its own research program. 

These efforts will help drive more dollars to colorectal cancer research and toward the priorities and opportunities identified through our Path to a Cure work. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *