The recently announced “Moonshot” to end the scourge of cancer represents a much needed and welcome national commitment to bring greater resources, purpose, and renewed vigor to bear against a set of diseases that, collectively, continue to impact the lives of millions of Americans. We commend President Obama for dedicating a portion of his State of the Union address to affirm the administration’s determination to capitalize on what has been called an “inflection” point in the history of the war on cancer. We also commend the president’s selection of Vice President Biden to lead this effort.
Over the course of the previous three months, Vice President Biden has demonstrated that he has the passion and determination, as well as willingness and understanding to work with all of the diverse stakeholders from across the oncology landscape. By conducting meetings with more than 200 leaders in the field – two of which National Brain Tumor Society (NBTS) was fortune enough and honored to participate in – the vice president and his staff have undoubtedly gained critical perspective into the unique challenges and opportunities currently engendered by the state of cancer research and therapy development. It is for these reasons that we believe Vice President Biden is the ideal official to spearhead this initiative.
Many of the priorities already proposed by the vice president – information sharing and collaboration, bringing the latest technology into the fight, and increasing overall funding – are ideas we share, and, in many cases, are already in practice at the NBTS. These include the establishment in 2013 of the Defeat GBM Research Collaborative, which brings together a group of the leading brain cancer researchers to work on improving survival for glioblastoma patients, the type of cancer to which the vice president lost his son, Beau.
Yet philanthropic and patient advocacy organizations will never be able to provide the level of resources and leadership that the federal government can deliver. It is in this light that NBTS so roundly applauds the administration’s “Moonshot” to set the country on a footing that will lead to transformative progress in our collective search for cancer cures.
The cancer research community has the will, resolve, and expertise. It is now our belief that with the right resources, urgency and leadership from this administration – and with the hope that future administrations continue to support these efforts – that we can achieve this moonshot, just like we did the last.