Pres. Obama launches cancer-fight ‘moonshot’ with Vice President Biden in charge
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama signed a presidential memorandum Thursday establishing a White House Task Force on cancer, placing Vice President Joe Biden in charge.
The goal of the task force was to “put ourselves on a path to achieve in just five years research and treatment gains that otherwise might take a decade or more,” according to the memorandum.
In a blog post on Medium, Biden said he doesn’t claim to be a cancer expert but does have experience bringing people together.
“This will be the first time this kind of group has met as a team, charged with this kind of goal,” Biden wrote.
“Right now, we’re on the cusp of incredible breakthroughs in both research and therapies … The task before us is to break through some of the barriers and do what we can to help speed up the progress, so that we can deliver treatments and increase access to these new approaches for millions more people.”
Biden, when he announced last year he wouldn’t run for president, called for a “moonshot” to cure cancer in the United States.
Obama said at his State of the Union address this month that he wants to give Biden that opportunity and put him in charge of “mission control.”
The task force, chaired by the vice president, will be comprised of at least 13 federal agencies including the National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, and the Defense Department.
The presidential memorandum does not allot new government spending but instead will be focused on “making the most of federal investments” including targeted incentives, private sector efforts and philanthropy with the goal of supporting cancer research and enabling progress in treatment and care.
“Last year, Vice President Biden said that with a new moonshot, America can cure cancer. Last month, he worked with this Congress to give scientists at the National Institutes of Health the strongest resources they’ve had in over a decade,” Obama said at his State of the Union address.
“(Because) he’s gone to the mat for all of us, on so many issues over the past forty years, I’m putting Joe in charge of Mission Control,” Obama added. “For the loved ones we’ve all lost, for the family we can still save, let’s make America the country that cures cancer once and for all.”
Biden’s son Beau, Delaware’s attorney general, died of brain cancer last year.