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Today the world, tomorrow the moon

Volpara Health CEO — Ralph Highnam, PhD – Published on February 4, 2022

The announcement by the White House to reignite the Cancer Moonshot was welcome news to people around the world.  With an ambitious mission to accelerate the rate of progress against cancer, the goal of the Cancer Moonshot is to utilize research and collaboration over the next 25 years to end cancer as we know it today.  Volpara Health has been aligned with this mission since our inception, specifically to end the suffering of patients and their families touched by cancer. 

Volpara was founded to provide a very accurate measurement of breast density, which is an important independent risk factor for breast cancer (as noted by the President’s Cancer Panel). Naturally, this supported the early detection of breast cancer via screening, which has proven effective in reducing the disease’s morbidity and mortality. The intention for Volpara’s software, however, was much broader: to enable, for all mammography x-ray systems, the measurement of changes in breast tissue over time. Hormone replacement therapy and breast cancer risk-reducing drugs such as tamoxifen, for example, are useful strategies whose effects should be monitored. Such a temporal component would work hand in hand with prediction and early detection, ultimately pointing to some key questions: 

What if we could predict far more accurately who would develop breast cancer in the first place and then act to reduce those individuals’ risk? What if we could then get the right imaging at the right time to those women at high risk? What if we could then monitor those women to ensure prevention strategies were working? Can we empower women with the information they need to make informed choices? 

By acquiring CRA Health, LLC, last year, Volpara has now gathered all the elements required to help answer these questions. With world-leading risk assessment and genetics in its portfolio, Volpara has the means to create the most powerful risk model ever, one based not on tens of thousands of women but millions of women. This is the basis of what we call our moonshot: to provide accurate risk assessment, monitoring, detection, and empowerment for all women. 

Volpara is excited that our ultimate goal is aligned with the objectives of the Cancer Moonshot, and firmly believe that the Moonshot is possible with global collaboration, data, and AI that works.