First Thing, Daily Maverick's flagship newsletter

Join the 230 000 South Africans who read First Thing newsletter.

Biden revives 'Cancer Moonshot' plan with goal to lower...


Biden's battle against cancer

Biden revives ‘Cancer Moonshot’ plan with goal to lower death rate

US President Joe Biden addresses a joint session of Congress, with Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) sitting behind him, at the Capitol in Washington, DC, USA, 28 April 2021. (Photo: EPA-EFE/MELINA MARA / POOL)
By Reuters
02 Feb 2022 0

WASHINGTON, Feb 2 (Reuters) - President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced plans to reduce the death rate from cancer by at least 50 percent over the next 25 years, part of an effort to revive the "Cancer Moonshot" initiative to speed research and make more treatments available.

By Alexandra Alper and Nandita Bose


The program, an Obama administration initiative led by Biden when he was vice president, also aims to improve cancer detection and prevention. Biden’s son Beau died of brain cancer in 2015 at age 46, something the president has said helps inform his and first lady Jill Biden’s passion for the project.

“I committed to this fight when I was vice president…let there be no doubt, now that I’m president, this is a presidential White House priority,” he said.

Biden said there are 200 different kinds of cancer caused by genetic mutations and the disease is still the “number two” cause of death in America, after heart disease. He also drew a contrast with COVID-19 saying that as the disease claimed over 800,000 American lives over the same period 1.2 million Americans have lost their lives to cancer.

Biden’s new effort will install a White House coordinator, form a cancer cabinet that will bring government departments and agencies together and revive access to cancer screenings. It will also see the White House hosting a summit to bring together stakeholders, launch a website and build on a cancer roundtable conversation series under way over the past six months, the White House said.

After the initiative launched in 2016, researchers said it would take a major shift in the way cancer research is done in the United States to meet the goals of the program.

“A lot has changed that makes it possible to set really ambitious goals right now,” a senior administration official said.

The official said a “decade’s worth of research advances” occurred in the past five years. He cited examples of scientific advances such as preventative annual blood tests that screen for cancer.

Jill Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris also attended the event. Harris’s mother, Shyamala Gopalan, died of colon cancer in 2009.

(Reporting by Nandita Bose in Washington. Editing by Gerry Doyle and Aurora Ellis)


Comments - share your knowledge and experience

Please note you must be a Maverick Insider to comment. Sign up here or sign in if you are already an Insider.

Everybody has an opinion but not everyone has the knowledge and the experience to contribute meaningfully to a discussion. That’s what we want from our members. Help us learn with your expertise and insights on articles that we publish. We encourage different, respectful viewpoints to further our understanding of the world. View our comments policy here.

No Comments, yet

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted