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Simon to Lead Moonshot

Greg Simon is to lead the cancer 'moonshot' initiative spearheaded by Vice President Joe Biden, the New York Times reports.

President Barack Obama announced the initiative during his State of the Union address earlier this year and called on the US to be "the country that cures cancer once and for all." He also tasked Biden, whose son Beau recently died of brain cancer, to take on the project.

Simon is a former aide to Vice President Al Gore and former vice president of patient engagement at Pfizer. He also helped start the charity FasterCures.

He is also a current cancer patient, having been diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia in June 2014, the Times adds. Simon underwent his first round of chemotherapy six months ago and is currently healthy.

The Times notes that Simon's appointment may be short lived as the Obama administration winds down. Still, he tells the Times he understands the urgency.

"The vice president has a chance to change the culture of science," Simon says. "And if we can create new approaches that are a step away from the road scientists have long been traveling, in a year or two it will be a different road."