2023 Cancer Summit Sparks International Collaboration

The American Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan (AmCham), the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), and the British Office Taipei (BOT) co-organized the 2023 Cancer Summit Healthcare Innovation Forum on April 25 at the Grand Hyatt Taipei. The summit’s theme was “An International Collaboration: End Cancer as We Know It.” 

The summit was a joint effort to bring together members of academia, commerce, and government from the U.S., Taiwan, and the UK to address topics related to the international Cancer Moonshot 2.0 project. The project, which was announced by U.S. President Joe Biden in 2022, combines scientific efforts to transform cancer policy in the U.S. and around the world by halving cancer deaths over the next 25 years. Cancer Moonshot 2.0 will improve early access to treatment and quality care to reduce mortality – a goal being referred to as a “cancer stage shift.”  

In his opening remarks, AmCham Supervisor Claudio Longo emphasized that “health should be considered an important investment, not a cost.” To achieve the policy objective of scientifically lowering the cancer mortality rate, the Taiwanese government must increase funding and participate in the Cancer Moonshot 2.0, including research and clinical trials. This is especially important considering Taiwan will become a super-aged society with more than 20% of the population over the age of 65 by 2025. Longo also underscored the shared goal of “making a world without cancer a reality, one patient at a time.” 

Deputy Director of AIT Jeremy Cornforth

Deputy Director of AIT Jeremy Cornforth applauded Taiwan’s participation in the Moonshot 2.0 project, noting that “the U.S. and Taiwan have a long and robust history of partnership in the health and medical sectors,” recalling recent collaboration between the two nations during the pandemic. “We look forward to continuing to work together to enhance our readiness for public health crises and to jointly improve disease prevention and treatment,” he said. 

Deputy Representative of BOT Tom Burn highlighted the similarities between healthcare systems in Taiwan and the UK, namely how both were designed to introduce solutions that focus on prevention and preventive medicine. 

Taiwan Premier Chen Chien-jen

Taiwan Premier Chen Chien-jen expressed gratitude for healthcare innovation and shared his amazement from observing Taiwan’s healthcare system and infrastructure growth throughout his career. He also said that the chance for national research academy Academia Sinica to participate in the Cancer Moonshot 2.0 project is truly a privilege. 

In the first presentation, the Director of the Center for Global Health at Oregon State University, Professor Chi Chun-huei, spoke of the overall history of cancer control in Taiwan and the various policy issues Taiwan currently faces. 

Iain Foulkes, director of Cancer Research UK (CRUK), shared information about the organization’s goals and practices in the second presentation. CRUK works with the National Health Insurance and National Cancer Institute to fund Grand Challenges – research endeavors with specific goals devised by members of the cancer community that engage the best researchers worldwide with hopes of making progress in cancer research. 

For the third presentation, National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) Deputy Minister Chern Yi-juang spoke about the importance of big data in modern research. Chern also shared some insight into what the NSTC is doing to collect important health-related data from national databases and securely provide it for use in research. 

During the final presentation, Distinguished Research Fellow Chen Yu-ju of Academia Sinica discussed Academia Sinica’s involvement in the Cancer Moonshot project and proteogenomics, a branch of biological research that shows promise in cancer applications for early detection. 

Finally, a panel led by Dr. Yang Pang-chyr, Chair Professor of National Taiwan University and Academician of Academia Sinica, discussed the cancer stage shift and early cancer detection, and how a stage shift could improve overall cancer care for people in Taiwan. Supporting early risk stratification and providing routine follow-up care for suspected cases with timely biomarker diagnosis would allow patients to get more optimized care at an earlier stage and improve mortality rates. 

In addition to the four speakers, Hsueh Jui-yuan, Minister of the Ministry of Health and Welfare; Yang Chih-hsin, Superintendent of National Taiwan University Cancer Center; Chou Wen-Chien, Chairman of The Hematology Society of Taiwan; Jane Tsai, Vice CEO of Formosa Cancer Foundation; and Wang Cheng-Hsu, Chairperson of Hope Foundation for Cancer Care also participated in the panel. Pharmaceutical Committee Co-Chair Jae-Yeon mentioned in her closing remarks that “the Taiwanese government should formulate clear approaches for patients, including early diagnosis, timely treatment with global standard guidelines, and updated national cancer policies by increasing funding.” 

The 2023 Cancer Summit Healthcare Innovation Forum was sponsored by AstraZeneca, MSD, and Abbvie.