Two of Space City’s best-known institutions — The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) — have partnered to bring the benefits of arts and science to pediatric cancer patients while increasing awareness of childhood cancer. More than 531 patients, families, and staff members painted original artwork used to create full-sized space suits for the Space Suit Art Project.
Born out of an idea from MD Anderson’s Arts in Medicine Program, which helps pediatric patients cope with cancer treatment through art, this project inspired leaders at NASA’s International Space Station (ISS) to support the effort with help from astronauts, scientists and engineers. NASA provided patterns for the suits and worked with ILC Dover, a manufacturing and engineering company that develops NASA space suits. ILC Dover assembled the suits by stitching the hand-painted art pieces onto the fabric.
The Moon Shots Program is an unprecedented effort to dramatically accelerate the pace of converting scientific discoveries into clinical advances that reduce cancer deaths.
Speaking at a Sept. 21 news conference, President Ronald DePinho, M.D., said that a decade from now, the success of the new Moon Shots Program will be measured by patient mortality and nothing more.
The Moon Shots Program is bringing together sizable multidisciplinary groups of researchers and clinicians to mount comprehensive attacks on eight cancers initially. They are: Acute myeloid leukemia and myelodysplastic syndrome, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, melanoma, lung cancer, prostate cancer, and women's cancers - triple-negative breast and high-grade serous ovarian, which are linked at the molecular level.
"Hold on. Be strong. Can you feel it getting better?"
These words are the chorus of the original song "Hold On, " written and performed by Greg Lizee, Ph.D., associate professor in MD Anderson's Melanoma Medical Oncology department. The song's message is simple: Hope. It's about positivity, patience and faith -- faith that things will get better. You have to hold on through the bad times to reach the good.