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Wobbling on the Breakthrough Edge

Cancer research may soon bear fruit, US Vice President Joe Biden tells NPR. Biden is leading the country's Cancer Moonshot Initiative, announced earlier this year at the State of the Union address, that seeks to cure cancer.

"I do know that there is the overwhelming prospect in the next year or two, three, four, five, you're going to see significant breakthroughs for certain types of cancers as well as significant breakthroughs in terms of how to turn cancer into a chronic disease as opposed to a life-threatening disease," Biden tells NPR.

His remarks echo those of the director of the National Institutes of Health Francis Collins who said in January that cancer research was at an "inflection point." Both Biden and Collins pointed to genomics research as aiding in moving the field.

Biden also calls for better cooperation amongst researchers to avoid duplications of effort. Such strategic collaborations would also help stretch the $1 billion budget the initiative currently has, he notes. At the same time, he advocates a multi-pronged approach that tackles disease prevention, finding genetic markers of disease, and more.

"There's just so many things that are sitting there on the cusp that I really believe in the next two to five years you're going to see significant changes where people say, 'You know, if I'd gotten that cancer five years ago I'd be dead,'" Biden tells NPR. "'Now I'm alive and I'm going to be able to make it.' I really think you're going to see that."