Vice President Joe Biden’s Cancer Moonshot program. Passed by the Senate last week, the 21st Century Cures Act is due to be signed by President Obama any day now. It is an exciting time for proponents, many of whom have been working tirelessly over the past year to encourage Congress to vote in favor of the Bill. It is their belief that, once the 21st Century Cures Act becomes law, countless Americans across all age groups, disease spaces, and socio-economic backgrounds, will stand to benefit.
This will certainly be the case for cancer patients and their families, as the Bill promises to invest $1.8 billion dollars into Vice President Joe Biden’s Cancer Moonshot program.
This program was established by President Obama, in his final State of the Union address, in January of 2016. The goal of the initiative, put plainly, is to end cancer as we know it. It represents a conscientious national effort to accelerate cancer research, to make new and innovative therapies available to a greater number of cancer patients, and to improve our ability to detect and treat cancer at an earlier stage.
To ensure that these goals are met, Obama asked Biden to lead the effort and created the Cancer Moonshot Task Force, which brings together 20 federal departments and agencies, as well as White House Offices, to support Biden in the fight against cancer. This Task Force has been charged with leveraging federal investments, private sector initiatives, patient engagement efforts, and targeted incentives, as well as consulting with external experts, like the National Cancer Advisory Board (NCAB) and the Blue Ribbon Panel of experts. These efforts are intended to support existing national cancer programs, rather than replace them, and are focused primarily on areas in which a coordinated effort could be beneficial.
Since the launch of the Cancer Moonshot program, Vice President Biden has engaged scientists, researchers, industry leaders and patients and their advocacy organizations, and has brought a new urgency to the nation’s efforts to fight cancer. The nearly 2 billion dollars’ worth of funding for the program, promised by the 21st Century Cures Act, will accelerate these efforts and allow Biden’s progress to continue.
Biden himself is no stranger to the trauma of cancer, and, in a touching move during last week’s meeting, the Senate voted to rename a portion of the Bill after Biden’s son, Beau Biden, who died of a brain tumor last year.