AACR Cancer Progress Report 2017:
Harnessing Research Discoveries to Save Lives


Cancer in 2017

Basic research is the foundation of new and better
approaches to cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis,
and treatment. With the personal and economic burden of cancer predicted to increase substantially in the next few decades, it is clear that the research that powers progress against cancer is a vital national investment.

Comprehending Cancer Development

We have learned that cancer is a collection of diseases that arise due to uncontrolled cell multiplication. Cancer development is affected by factors inside and outside the cell. The more we know about the interplay between these factors, the more precisely we can prevent and treat cancer.

Preventing Cancer: Understanding Risk Factors

It is estimated that about half of cancer cases worldwide are attributable to preventable causes. We must identify new strategies to disseminate and implement our current knowledge of cancer prevention, in particular among the segments of the population who experience cancer health disparities.

Screening for Cancer Prevention and Early Detection

Finding cancer at an early stage of development makes it more likely that a patient can be treated successfully. Determining whether broad implementation of a cancer screening test can decrease deaths and provide benefits that outweigh the potential risks of the test requires extensive research and careful analysis of the data.

Harnessing Research Discoveries to Save Lives

From August 1, 2016, to July 31, 2017, nine new anticancer therapeutics were approved for use by the FDA—including seven molecularly targeted therapeutics and two immunotherapeutics called checkpoint inhibitors.

Looking to the Future

Harnessing the information contained within data sets that include patient history, diagnostics, genetic tests, treatment decisions, and outcomes from large numbers of cancer patients has the potential to drive the next breakthroughs in cancer prevention, early  detection, and treatment.

Working Together to Overcome Cancer Through Public Policy

Only by investing in research talent, tools, and infrastructure; supporting regulatory science initiatives; and developing policies that advance patient-centered research and care will we be able to accelerate the pace of progress and realize our goal of preventing and curing all types of cancer.

The AACR Call to Action

During this time of both unprecedented scientific opportunity and increasing incidence and associated mortality of cancer, robust, sustained, and predictable investments in the NIH are needed to accelerate the pace at which research discoveries are translated into advances that will save more lives from cancer.