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Moonshot Booster

US Vice President Joe Biden is to host an event today to give his Cancer Moonshot Initiative a boost, the Associated Press reports.

The Cancer Moonshot was announced earlier this year during President Barack Obama's final State of the Union address, with Biden, whose son Beau died of brain cancer, taking the helm of the project. Writing at Medium, Biden has said that he plans to increase cancer research funding and break down the walls that isolate various aspects of cancer research by bringing together government, industry, philanthropic, clinical, and patient representatives.

But, the AP notes that Biden and the Cancer Moonshot have run into the same political and bureaucratic problems as other White House initiatives. Obama requested $1 billion over two years for the Moonshot, but only a small portion has been approved, the AP adds. Instead, it says Biden is appealing to cancer research institutions to collaborate and make the most of their funds while also emphasizing private and nonprofit research work.

"For Biden, the conference comes as time is running out to make good on his pledge to double the rate of progress toward a cure before leaving office," the AP says.

It adds that the Department of Energy and the National Cancer Institute plan to unveil new programs, including a partnership with GlaxoSmithKline, and IBM is to announce that it will be donating its Watson supercomputer to help the Department of Veterans Affairs step up its personalized medicine program for cancer patients, as GenomeWeb also reports here.