It’s been 60 years since President Kennedy delivered his iconic Moonshot speech, mark a goal for America to launch a man into space set foot on the Moon and bring it back to Earth.
On Monday, President Biden gave a speech at the Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston, describing the progress of his own self-proclaimed moonshot: ending cancer.
“This cancer moon shot is one of the reasons I ran for president,” Biden said. “Cancer doesn’t discriminate between red and blue. It doesn’t matter if you’re Republican or Democrat. Beating cancer is something we can do together.”
Biden said cancer is often diagnosed too late and said “there are too few ways to prevent it in the first place.” He also added that there are stark inequalities in cancer diagnosis and treatment based on race, disability, zip code, sexual orientation and gender identity.
“We know too little about why treatments work for some patients, but for a different patient with the same disease, it doesn’t work. We still lack strategies to develop treatments for some cancers,” said he said, adding “we don’t know how to do enough to help patients and families navigate the cancer care system.”
While Biden has announced several of his cancer moonshot goals in februaryin his speech on Monday, he offered some updates.
Prior to the speech, the White House announced that Dr. Renee Wegrzyn would be appointed to head a new agency, the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), the first-ever person to hold the position. The agency was created by Biden in February to improve the US government’s ability to drive health and biomedical research.
“ARPA-H will have the sole purpose of making breakthroughs to prevent, detect and treat diseases, including cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and other diseases, and enable us to live healthier lives. “, Biden said.
Biden also announced he was signing a new executive order that launches a national biotechnology and biomanufacturing initiative, to help ensure the technology that will help end cancer is made in America.
He said creating new technologies for cancer treatments and other things would create jobs and strengthen supply chains – and added that the US would then not have to rely on anyone. elsewhere in the world for this progress.
In February, Biden first announced his goal of halving cancer deaths over the next 25 years and improving the experience of those living with and surviving cancer. At the time, he also announced the creation of a cancer cabinet that brought together different corners of government to achieve his goal.
The fight against cancer is an issue that Biden has grappled with since his days as vice president and it’s an issue that closely affects his own family, as well as that of Vice President Kamala Harris. Biden’s son, Beau Biden, died of brain cancer in 2015. And Harris’ mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, who was a breast cancer researcher, died of colon cancer in 2009.