In his final State of the Union address, President Obama announced that Vice President Joe Biden would be spearheading a new initiative to cure cancer.
“Last year, Vice President Biden said that with a new moonshot, America can cure cancer,” Obama said. “Tonight, I’m announcing a new national effort to get it done. And because he’s gone to the mat for all of us, on so many issues over the past forty years, I’m putting Joe in charge of Mission Control. For the loved ones we’ve all lost, for the family we can still save, let’s make America the country that cures cancer once and for all.”
The initiative was welcome news to Moffitt Cancer Center. Executive Vice President and Center Director Dr. Thomas Sellers said Moffitt has already been in talks with Biden’s office about the plan.
In a letter Dr. Sellers wrote to Biden in November, he said, “Your challenge matches the singular mission of Moffitt Cancer Center, and we have enlisted many of the nation's most prestigious cancer institutions in this effort. All of us want to join your moon shot.”
Biden’s office then arranged for a conference call the following month. Dr. Sellers said the ideas were well-received.
"Vice President Biden has been very public in his statements about the need to support cancer research, and that was underscored with an exclamation mark in the president's speech," Dr. Sellers said, adding that Biden’s office has reached out to discuss the next steps.
"It's really very exciting for those of us who worry about how to cure cancer to have that kind of a focused commitment from the government and the vice president and the president," he said.
Vice President Biden lost his son, Beau Biden, 46, to brain cancer in 2015. He wrote a blog post about his plans for the initiative.