National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins tells CNBC's On the Money that cancer research has reached an "inflection point."
Collins was in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum, where he met with Vice President Joe Biden, who is heading up the new cancer moonshot initiative, CNBC adds.
Advances in genetics and genomics have given researchers a better understanding of what goes awry in cancer cells. "Cancer is a disease of the genome," Collins says. "It happens because of mistakes in DNA that happen in vulnerable places."
Those errors can now be uncovered and targeted by drugs. "That's a new concept," he adds. "We didn't have the ability to do that until the technology came along and made it possible."
This recently acquired knowledge, he notes, means that researchers know a lot more about the many different kinds of cancers than they did when President Richard Nixon launched the War on Cancer in the 1970s.
The video of Collins speaking to CNBC may be seen here.