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Washington Cancer Moonshot summit chaired by Vice President Biden

Vice President Biden is chairing a cancer summit in Washington today designed to garner further support for the Obama administration’s year-long ‘Cancer Moonshot’ initiative to advance cancer research.

The summit will seek to boost planned cancer initiatives that include; a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) FDA virtual Oncology Center of Excellence for collaborative treatments, drugs and biologics; the creation of a National Cancer Institute clearinghouse for drugs needed for combination studies; and systems to allow patients easier access to clinical trials.

Biden’s son, Beau, died last May from a brain tumour and the Vice President has made it his mission to drive the Cancer Moonshot program’s efforts to secure funding for vital research into brain tumours and all cancers.

“I believe we need a moon-shot in this country to cure cancer,” Biden has said.

“It’s personal. But I know we can do this. The president and I have already been working hard on increasing funding for research and development, because there are so many breakthroughs just on the horizon, in science and medicine, the things that are just about to happen.

“And we can make them real, with an absolute national commitment to end cancer as we know it today.”

Speaking at the launch of the summit, that saw many other US states also taking part, Biden said: “We’re on the cusp of an awful lot of change.

“When I was in Asia, Japan, Korea and others, pursuing our country’s foreign policy, it always came back to ‘Can we talk about cancer?’ It
always came back to this.

“I’ve been stunned at the response to the President’s announcement of the Moonshot and the overwhelming desire to have concrete hope.

“There’s a recognition that by sharing the aggregated data of cancer patients worldwide, we have the ability to potentially change the world in our treatment of cancer. The development of immunotherapy for example, and it’s potential to transform many types of cancer when 10 years ago, they were literally a death sentence. We have to improve how we work together.

“One of the biggest problems, is that treatments need to be affordable and patients should be able to, for example, seamlessly find access to a clinical trial. These might pave the way for the next life-saving treatment.

“The impediment isn’t the lack of genius and ingenuity in terms of new treatments and drugs, it’s all the stuff that gets in the way of progress into cancer treatments.

“We have to come up with a better way.”