With just one week left before he steps down as vice president, Joe Biden pledged Monday to find a way to cure cancer. His Cancer Moonshot 2020 global initiative seeks to find a cure within five years.
“There’s an urgent need to continue this momentum, that’s why I came to you, I really do mean this. This is too deadly important,” he told the 35th Annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco.
Initially, the idea came from President Barack Obama during his final State of the Union address last year January. Obama asked Biden to lead a new Cancer Moonshot, which was first declared by President Richard Nixon in 1971. According to Biden, at the time, resources were very limited.
“We didn’t have the army organized, didn’t have the military intelligence to know the enemy well, and therefore didn’t have the comprehensive strategy needed to launch a successful attack—now we do," he wrote in his executive report to Obama.
In five years, the initiative will find prevention, diagnosis and treatment for all cancer patients, which will require astronomical in-depth medical research, as well as data collecting, thus putting an end to the leading cause of death worldwide.
What the organization is hoping to achieve ultimately takes 10 years of cancer research but they have condensed it to five years. That's because Biden said the country is much more prepared to fight cancer than it has ever been.
“Because of the progress over the last 45 years we have an army of researchers and oncologists, the powerful technologies and weapons, and immense public support and commitment to action," he wrote.
Biden has already gathered up his team from across the nation, according to the White House website. It states: “The Vice President convened nearly 400 cancer researchers, oncologists, nurses, patients, advocates and others at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Over 7,000 more came together at hospitals, community care centers, businesses, and in family rooms at more than 300 local summits across all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, and Washington, D.C."
In Biden’s executive report to Obama, he mentioned his eldest son and former attorney general of Delaware, Beau, who died from brain cancer in 2015.
“We had access to the world’s best nurses, physicians, and researchers. And the more time we spent with them, the more we understood that even if we couldn’t save our son, the science, medicine, and technology are progressing faster than ever to save countless other sons and daughters. There’s a recognition that the cancer system of the 20th Century must be reimagined for the 21st Century to match the breakthroughs creating an inflection point in this fight,” he wrote.
The new Cancer Moonshot called, “Joe Biden Cancer Initiative,” will live on as both he and Obama leave office, Biden wrote.
“Like President Kennedy challenged the nation before, let this Cancer Moonshot challenge all of us to think anew about what is possible and end cancer as we know it,” he wrote.