In 2016, then-Vice President Joe Biden launched the Cancer Moonshot with the mission to accelerate the rate of progress against cancer. The program set forth three goals:
- Accelerate scientific discovery in cancer,
- Foster greater collaboration, and
- Improve the sharing of data.
Cancer is Personal
Cancer is particularly near and dear to now-President Biden’s heart. In 2013, Biden’s son Beau was diagnosed with brain cancer. He underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatment before receiving a clean bill of health several months later. Unfortunately, the disease returned and claimed 46-year-old Beau’s life in 2015.
“It’s personal for me. But it’s also personal for nearly every American, and millions of people around the world,” Biden stated. “We all know someone who has had cancer or is fighting to beat it.”
Setting New, Ambitious Goals
In February 2022, Biden reignited the Cancer Moonshot program. Since the program’s initial launch, there has been significant progress in cancer therapeutics, diagnostics, and patient-driven care, as well as scientific advances and public health lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, Biden has announced the addition of new and more ambitious goals for the program:
- Reduce the death rate from cancer by at least 50 percent over the next 25 years
- Improve the experience of people and their families living with and surviving cancer
With these new goals, Biden states that the Cancer Moonshot program will end cancer as we know it today.
“My message today is this: We can do this. I promise you, we can do this,” Biden said. “All those we lost, all those we miss. We can end cancer as we know it.”
For the initial launch of the Cancer Moonshot program, Congress approved nearly $2 billion in funding over seven years, which will end in 2023. The reignited initiative with additional goals does not require more funding, but it does identify new priorities.
“I committed to this fight when I was vice president,” Biden said. “It’s one of the reasons why, quite frankly, I ran for president. Let there be no doubt: Now that I am president, this is a presidential White House priority — period.”
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