Feb 2, 2022 - Health

Biden relaunches cancer moonshot

Joe Biden adjusts his tie while standing at a podium to speak

Photo: Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

President Biden on Wednesday announced the revival of the cancer "moonshot" he first spearheaded as vice president.

Driving the news: Biden announced a goal to reduce the age-adjusted death rate from cancer by 50% over 25 years, the naming of a cancer moonshot coordinator at the White House and a new "Cancer Cabinet to "end cancer as we know it."

  • "We’ll bring a fierce sense of urgency to the fight against cancer," Biden said, adding, "I refuse to believe this is beyond our capacity. I refuse to believe it."
  • Biden said they plan efforts to increase screening rates, address inequity, accelerate clinical trials and back advancements such as the use of mRNA to target cancer.
  • The plan, however, does not yet include any new funding commitments.

What they're saying: Cancer experts say the original moonshot resulted in some major advancements — for instance, in immunotherapies, and said the idea of another moonshot was encouraging.

  • "We called for a Moonshot 2.0 because we desperately need it," said David Agus, CEO of the Lawrence J. Ellison Institute for Transformative Medicine, and the lead author of a commentary in Lancet Oncology calling for another moonshot effort.
  • "What we've seen is a broad outline of tenets that make sense. The real question is: How is it going to be done? What assets from the federal government are going to be brought to bear here?"

Go deeper: Cancer death rate falls 32% since peak in 1991

Editor's note: This story has been updated with details from President Biden's speech.

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