Increased collaboration and a willingness to see beyond the expected will be critical to the success of the national cancer moonshot initiative, Vice President Joe Biden told ASCO Annual Meeting attendees this afternoon. “No single oncologist or cancer researcher can find the answer on his or her own,” Biden said. “The good news is, today, oncologists and cancer researchers realize they can’t do it alone, either.”
Biden — embracing this year’s ASCO theme, “Collective Wisdom: The future of patient-centered care and research” — suggested the fight against cancer has reached an inflection point that requires the contributions from diverse fields such as virology, immunology, proteomics and genomics, all of which offer profound promise that did not exist 5 years ago, Biden said.
“What is required today extends beyond any individual or any individual discipline, and beyond medicine itself,” Biden said. “We have to use every weapon at our disposal if we are going to achieve our goal of helping patients even more than you’re already helping them today. … That requires a change of mindset. It requires a lot more openness — open data, open collaboration and, above all, open minds.”
President Barack Obama announced the launch of the national cancer moonshot initiative during his State of the Union address in January. Biden — whose son, Beau, died of brain cancer last summer — is leading the effort.
The moonshot is intended to double the rate of progress of cancer research through four key missions: realigning the incentives of research systems to promote progress in preventing and treating cancer; creating a new paradigm for generating, sharing and integrating data; accelerating the pace at which diagnostic and therapeutic advances are brought to patients and the world; and identifying unnecessary regulatory barriers at the federal level that stand in the way of allowing the oncology community to improve cancer care.
Biden — who called the moonshot “the only bipartisan thing left in America” — has spent the past few months traveling the world to meet with oncologists, researchers, government leaders, philanthropists and representatives of cancer coalitions to listen to their needs.
His appearance at ASCO was the second time this spring he promoted the national cancer moonshot as a major oncology conference. In April, he spoke during the plenary session at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting in New Orleans.
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