US President Joe Biden announced a renewed push to fight cancer on Monday, with the goal of halving deaths over the next 25 years.
By boosting the “Cancer Moonshot” initiative, which had started under the administration of Barack Obama, President Biden hopes to invoke the same public enthusiasm as the space race of the 1960s which saw the US beat the Soviet Union to put the first man on the moon.
“I believe we can usher in the same unwillingness to postpone, the same national purpose that will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills to end cancer as we know it, and even cure cancers once and for all,” Biden said.
New research for new treatments
Biden’s announcement included a new executive order that allows the government to direct new funding to the biotech industry.
The White House did not specify how much funding would be allocated, or how, but the executive order would require all publicly-funded technologies to be manufactured domestically.
“One of the most promising technologies has been the development of blood tests that offer the promise of detecting multiple cancers in a single blood test and really imagining the impact that could have on our ability to detect cancer early and in a more equitable way,” Danielle Carnival, the White House coordinator for the effort, told the AP news agency. Biden also touted potential mRNA treatments on the horizon.
Other new initiatives include the establishment of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health, which will seek a cure for cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and other diseases, plus a new funding for early-career scientists studying treatments for cancer, with a focus on underrepresented groups.
“Our goal is to … turn more cancers from death sentences into chronic illnesses that people can live with,” Biden added.
Biden lost a son to cancer, Cancer is the number two cause of death in the US after heart disease. In 2015, the President’s son Beau Biden died of brain cancer at the of 46.
Shortly afterwards, in 2016, then-President barrack Obama tasked Biden with leading the “Cancer Moonshot”.
It included $1.8 billion (€1.79 billion) for cancer research over seven years, and federal tools to help patients find clinical trials that they could join.