Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. announced his desire for a cancer “moonshot” during his remaining time in office during a speech in late October 2015. A formal initiative was pledged during President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address earlier in January 2016, in which the president affirmed that Biden would lead such an effort. Since then, nominal announcements have been made by the vice president as to what the exact shape and details of his undertaking will include. Today (Jan. 28th, 2016), President Obama issued an Executive Memorandum establishing a “White House Cancer Moonshot Task Force,” to be headed officially by the vice president, providing further clarity to this nascent initiative.
David F. Arons, JD, Chief Executive Officer of the National Brain Tumor Society (NBTS), today issued the following statement regarding the official formation of a White House Cancer Moonshot Task Force:
Today’s announcement of an official White House Cancer Moonshot Task Force is further affirmation of this administration’s unequivocal support and commitment to their stated goal of accelerating, “…progress towards prevention, treatment, and a cure – to double the rate of progress on the fight against cancer – and put ourselves on a path to achieve in just five years research and treatment gains that otherwise might take a decade or more.”
By designating heads of numerous key executive branch agencies, departments, and offices as members of the Task Force, Vice President Biden – serving as Chair of the Task Force – should have the necessary resources and support, as well as the collective mind of leading policymakers, to successfully remove bureaucratic, regulatory, and cultural barriers that often slow progress of cancer research and drug development endeavors.
National Brain Tumor Society congratulates the administration for the launch of the Task Force, and for the urgency with which it was formed. We are particularly encouraged by Section 3 (“Outreach”) of the memorandum, which calls for continued engagement with diverse stakeholders in the cancer research community, including patient groups and nonprofits, such as NBTS. Indeed, NBTS has been honored and privileged to already meet with, and subsequently submit detailed recommendations to, the vice president’s office. As the largest nonprofit patient advocacy and research funding organization in the field of brain tumors/brain cancer, the type of cancer which took the vice president’s son, Beau, we believe we have inimitable insight into specific steps that can be taken that will not only advance brain cancer research – an areas of critical unmet medial need – but which would also benefit the entire oncology field.
NBTS looks forward to continuing to work with Vice President Biden and his staff and assist the Task Force as they prepare their final report for action by the end of the calendar year. NBTS ardently believes that a large, comprehensive and collaborative effort will significantly aid in providing the right funding, resources, and policy measures to allow scientific momentum to accelerate – with minimal impediments – toward better treatments, and ultimately cures.