United States

Vice President Joe Biden Takes ‘Moonshot' to Help Cure Cancer

Vice President Joe Biden says he'll spend his final year in the White House working to double the rate of progress toward a cancer cure.

President Barack Obama tasked Biden with the mission in his State of the Union address Tuesday night. Biden says the goal is to make a decade's worth of advances in five years.

"Let’s make America the country that cures cancer, once and for all," Obama said at the State of the Union, earning a round of applause.

Biden says in a blog post that he'll work to do two things: increase public and private resources to fight cancer, and break down barriers to collaboration and information-sharing by researchers.

"It’s personal for me," writes Biden. "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."

The former longtime U.S. Senator representing Delaware says the federal government will use funding incentives and increased coordination to accelerate research. The Democrat wants more sharing of medical and research data.

Biden says it's personal. His 46-year-old son Beau Biden -- the former Attorney General of Delaware -- died last year from brain cancer. Biden announced months later that he wouldn't run for president but would launch a "moonshot" to cure cancer. This is the first time he's laying out how he'll pursue that goal.

"And the goal of this initiative — this 'Moonshot' — is to seize this moment," says Biden. "To accelerate our efforts to progress towards a cure, and to unleash new discoveries and breakthroughs for other deadly diseases."

Biden will participate in a round-table discussion at the University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine and Abramson Cancer Center in Philadelphia Friday afternoon as he begins the fight against the deadly disease.

Doctors at MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper in Camden, who see about 2,800 new cancer cases yearly, welcomed the presidential challenge, calling it exciting.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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