Leader of Fralin Biomedical Research Institute discusses Cancer Moonshot

Published: Sep. 13, 2022 at 7:27 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - President Biden is focusing fresh attention and funding on the Cancer Moonshot - a national effort to cut cancer deaths in half over the next 25 years.

Tuesday afternoon, WDBJ7 spoke with the Executive Director of the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at Virginia Tech Carilion about the potential for real progress, and the opportunities for researchers here in western Virginia.

The White House says recent progress in cancer diagnosis and therapies, along with scientific advances and lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic, now make it possible to set ambitious goals.

“To turn more cancers from death sentences into chronic diseases people can live with,” President Biden said Monday.

In an interview, Dr. Michael Friedlander said we can’t predict if this is the moment that will produce the big breakthrough. But he said he believes, from a scientific point-of-view, it is a time in which the opportunities to make major strides are greater than they’ve ever been.

“I think the dollars will be well-invested. There’s a lot of outstanding researchers all around the country, all around the world for that matter, including here at Virginia Tech and at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute, who if they compete for these grants and are able to be successful in obtaining funds will continue making major contributions to cancer research.” Friedlander said. “So I think it’s a great thing and I think we’ll definitely see progress.”

Friedlander said there are at least 40 researchers across Virginia Tech in Roanoke, Blacksburg, Northern Virginia and Washington DC, working in this space.

An infusion of funds, he said, could help them take their cancer research to the next level.