In his final State of the Union address, US President Barack Obama announced a new national effort toward curing cancer with Vice President Joe Biden at the lead.
Biden's son Beau died from brain cancer last year, and when Biden declined to run for president, he said that he was going to devote much of his remaining time as vice president toward enabling a "moonshot" to cure cancer, the Guardian adds.
Last month, as Obama noted in his speech, Biden worked with Congressional lawmakers to ensure US medical research was well funded — Stat News notes that he helped secure a $264 million increase in funding for the National Cancer Institute — and, now, echoing Biden's call, Obama has announced a national effort toward eradicating cancer.
"Let's make America the country that cures cancer once and for all," Obama said.
In an essay on Medium, Biden says that this effort is "personal" for him.
From his experience, he's learned cancer research and therapies are on the verge of breakthroughs, he adds. "And the goal of this initiative — this 'moonshot' — is to seize this moment," Biden writes. "To accelerate our efforts to progress towards a cure, and to unleash new discoveries and breakthroughs for other deadly diseases."
In particular, Biden says he wants to do two things: increase funding for cancer research and break down the barriers that separate various aspects of cancer research. To do so, he plans to bring together the different parties involved in cancer research — government, industry, philanthropies, clinicians, and patients — into one effort focused on investment, working across barriers, and bolstering the cancer community's access to information.
"I know that we can help solidify a genuine global commitment to end cancer as we know it today — and inspire a new generation of scientists to pursue new discoveries and the bounds of human endeavor," Biden adds.