In the Future X PRIZE content from the X PRIZE Foundation I just posted on is a link to a 15-page Cancer X PRIZE Suite Strategic Plan document. It describes initial prize definition work funded by the Lance Armstrong Foundation and the Goldhirsh Foundation, and goes into details on why we're seemingly "stuck" in the goal of better patient outcomes even though much progress has been made in cancer science. As with space, many of the problems are economic, regulatory, and institutional. It also describes the approach that would be taken by the XPF - not duplicating cancer drug research which is already well-funded, but instead covering the whole range of prevention, diagnosis, and therapy, in areas where current incentives aren't sufficient. The emphasis will be on prevention and diagnosis.
They propose (realize they probably need to convince someone to fund the prizes) 3 prizes, and 3 backups:
1. Smoking Cessation X PRIZE - an X PRIZE to the team getting the largest number of people to quit smoking for at least 2 years. It seems like they'd like to launch this one in 2009. Note that Elon Musk produced Thak You for Smoking; I wonder if he'd be interested in this one.
2. Imaging X PRIZE - for a technology that allows for the detection and localization at a very early stage ... The resulting invention would allow physicians to non-invasively explore the body and detect and characterize disease as small as a few hundred cells. I suspect there would be some uses for it outside the cancer field, too.
3. The third proposed prize would be for the ability to selectively and specifically destroy tumors anywhere in the body.
The backup prize ideas are for making an expensive cancer fighting technology cheaper so more people have access to it, a smoking prevention vaccine, and the cancer center with the best patient outcomes.