Portugal Colonial - Biden announces cancer 'moonshot' relaunch to halve death rate

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Biden announces cancer 'moonshot' relaunch to halve death rate
Biden announces cancer 'moonshot' relaunch to halve death rate

Biden announces cancer 'moonshot' relaunch to halve death rate

President Joe Biden on Wednesday will announce a relaunch of the government's cancer "moonshot" effort, with a goal of cutting the US death rate from the disease by half.

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The so-called "moonshot" against cancer was first launched in 2016 with $1.8 billion in federal funds to be spread out over seven years. Only $400 million of that remains available to cover this year and 2023.

Biden, whose son Beau died of brain cancer in 2015 at age 46, spearheaded the original project as vice president under Barack Obama. He has talked emotionally about the pain that he and his wife Jill went through as they searched for solutions to their son's fatal illness.

Vice President Kamala Harris' mother, a breast cancer researcher, died of colon cancer in 2009.

Now, Biden and Harris are set to address a White House ceremony to "reignite" the initiative, whose name deliberately echoes the 1969 triumph of NASA landing the first humans on the Moon.

"Working together over the next 25 years, we will cut today’s age-adjusted death rate from cancer by at least 50 percent," the White House said in a statement.

While no new funding is being announced, "the president is going to set some very ambitious goals," a senior official told reporters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"I am very confident that there will be robust funding going forward because, I've got to say, in these times of disagreements, there's certainly one thing on which we all agree, across party, across everything -- which is the effect of cancer on their lives. I know nothing that unites us more and that is more bipartisan."

The focus of the relaunch is to provide leadership in marshalling resources for a more united effort between patients, hospitals, biopharmaceutical companies and researchers. A White House Cancer Moonshot coordinator will be named and a cross-governmental cabinet will oversee goals, including expanding and reorganizing cancer screening networks.

Emphasis is also being put on addressing racial inequity in access to cancer care.

"Because of recent progress in cancer therapeutics, diagnostics, and patient-driven care, as well as the scientific advances and public health lessons of the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s now possible to set ambitious goals," the White House said.

"Taken together, these actions will drive us toward ending cancer as we know it today."

Already since 2000, the death rate from cancer among Americans has fallen by around 25 percent as a result of better treatments, diagnosis capabilities, therapeutics, vaccines and a halving in adult long-term cigarette smoking.