Vice President Joe Biden on cancer: Research culture needs to change

Published: Jun. 29, 2016 at 3:15 PM CDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - The White House says it wants to help eliminate cancer as we know it through a program called the Cancer Moonshot. The federal government is spending $1 billion to try to send cancer to the moon.

Vice President Joe Biden is in charge of the program. In a one-on-one interview Biden told us, “It can eliminate any unintended roadblocks in the way to making science and research more difficult. And I think it can convene all the stakeholders."

The Cancer Moonshot goal is to complete a decade of work in just five years, doubling the efforts in every aspect of how government addresses the challenge of cancer.

Biden announced a new set of public and private sector actions to drive progress. They include initiatives to make clinical trials more accessible to cancer patients and create pilot projects focused on bringing together cancer researchers.

“The more data that gets shared, the quicker we get the answers,” said Biden.

We asked the executive director of the Cancer Moonshot, Greg Simon, to assess how the program is going so far.

“One day I wore a tuxedo jacket to work because I was in such a hurry to get there,” he said. “Response has been enormous. Bigger than anything I have ever done.”

Simon told us he thinks federal agencies are moving faster and more intelligently in a shorter period of time than he would ever have thought possible.

Cancer kills about 1,500 Americans every day.

Biden lost his son, Beau, to brain cancer in 2015. After four of her friends were diagnosed with breast cancer, Second Lady Jill Biden started the Biden Breast Health Initiative in Delaware in 1993.

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