Biden Aims to Bring Hope to Cancer Patients Through ‘Moonshot' Initiative

President Biden's speech, at the JFK Library in Boston, was meant to rally the scientific community and the private sector to work closer together in cancer research, technology and investment

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President Joe Biden reignited his 2016 "cancer moonshot," a mission to end the disease as we know it.

The president laid out several steps in hopes of eradicating cancer and prevent people from dying from it.

“Diagnosis was earth-shattering. It just cracks your life into two,” admitted Kate Weissman.

Weissman found out she had stage-two B cervical cancer six years ago. Her world turned upside down.

“I just describe it as a bomb that kept exploding,” she said.

Kate became one of the 1.7 million Americans who are diagnosed with cancer every year. In the months that followed, she found the tools to help dismantle that bomb before it was too late.

“Even though it was already in my lymphatic system, if I hadn’t caught it another month or two months from there and my doctors hadn’t figured out there was something going on with me, I would not be here,” she said.

The Charlestown resident credits early detection, resourceful doctors and top-quality care. Things, she recognizes, not every cancer patient has access to.

“We don’t learn enough from their experience as patients and we don’t share enough data and knowledge,” said President Joe Biden during his address at the JFK Library in Boston on Monday afternoon.

Biden, who lost his son Beau to brain cancer, it’s personal.

“The goal is to cut cancer death rates by at least 50%… in the next 25 years,” he vowed.

The president reignited his moonshot goal by appointing new cancer czars who will lead research projects and help improve data sharing with other cancer institutes.

His speech was meant to rally the scientific community and the private sector to work closer together in cancer research, technology and investment.

The Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) was created earlier this year, with the president on Monday announced the appointment of Dr. Renee Wegrzyn to lead that project.

The president also announced the appointment of Massachusetts native Dr. Monica Bertagnolli as the director of the National Cancer Institute.

He also said he signed an executive order to ensure biotechnology invented in America is made in America, and highlighted a provision of Inflation Reduction Act signed last month that caps cancer drug costs at $2,000 for seniors on Medicare.

“By doing that we can dramatically accelerate our ability to get improved therapies,” said Dana Farber Cancer Institute Boston researcher Lewis Cantley.

Dr. Cantly believes his research on DNA sequencing in the bloodstream, could help others detect the disease earlier through blood tests.

“First, of all you can detect the tumor by that technique before you even see it. And secondly you can often pick up what are the mutations in the tumor,” he noted.

With early detection, and by expanding access to care and data sharing, more patients can have a shot at survival like Weissman.

“We have to accelerate that progress and we have to build on the momentum we already have and really knock this out of the park and move the needle,” she said.

The cancer death rate has fallen 27% in the last 25 years according to the American Cancer Society, thanks in part to the development of research, detection and treatment.

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