Vice President Biden Announces Widespread Initiative to Fight Cancer

Government announces plans to increase funding for cancer treatment research and development.

During President Barack Obama’s final State of the Union Address, he asked Vice President Joe Biden to take charge in finding a cure for cancer.

"Last month, [Biden] worked with this Congress to give scientists at the National Institutes of Health the strongest resources they’ve had in over a decade," Obama said in his address on Tuesday. "Tonight, I’m announcing a new national effort to get it done. And because he’s gone to the mat for all of us, on so many issues over the past 40 years, I’m putting Joe in charge of mission control.”

Biden previously announced his decision not to run for president in the 2016 election nearly 6 months after he lost his son, Delaware’s former attorney general, to brain cancer. Biden stressed that for the final 15 months he was in office, he would be fighting to increase funding for cancer research and development, as stated in USA Today.

“It’s personal for me,” wrote Biden in a post on Medium following Obamas announcement. “But it’s also personal for nearly every American, and millions of people around the world. We all know someone who has had cancer, or is fighting to beat it. They’re our family, friends, and co-workers.”

Biden continued saying that he had met with nearly 200 of the world’s top cancer physicians, researchers, and philanthropists over the past several months.

“Today, cancer is the leading cause of death worldwide,” Biden wrote. “And that’s only expected to increase in the coming decades — unless we make more progress today. From my own personal experience, I’ve learned that research and therapies are on the cusp of incredible breakthroughs. Just in the past 4 years, we’ve seen amazing advancements. And this is an inflection point.”

Biden states that currently there are only 5% of cancer patients in the United States, who end up being placed in a clinical trial.

Although, advancements in research and care could be revolutionary, the innovations in data and technology offer promising advances in research and improvement of care, Biden stated on Medium.

Biden stated that he plans to increase resources both public and private to fight cancer, as well as break down silos and bring all cancer fighters together, in order to share information and end cancer once and for all.

In order to do this, he wrote that he will lead a combined effort by governments, private industries, researchers, physicians, patients, and philanthropic groups to increase information access in the community, target investments, and coordinate across silos.

Cancer centers will be encouraged to reach levels of cooperation that has never been done before, in order to learn more about cancer. Technology and data innovators will help revolutionize research data, so that it can be shared and used to achieve new breakthroughs.

Biden said the government would seek to help the oncology community improve all forms of communication with physicians around the world and throughout the United States. Finally, the plan involves letting patients be heard, so that families are treated as partners in care and can gain access to data and contribute to research.

Biden wrote that he will be meeting with researchers and physicians at the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School Of Medicine on January 15, 2016. This will be followed by a World Economic Forum in Switzerland next week, to meet with international experts and discuss the current state of research and treatment options.

Later this month, Biden will set up meetings with cabinet secretaries and relevant agencies to discuss different options for improving federal investment and the support of cancer research.

“The goal of this initiative — this “Moonshot” — is to seize this moment,” Biden wrote. “To accelerate our efforts to progress towards a cure, and to unleash new discoveries and breakthroughs for other deadly diseases.”