Biden Reignites Initiative To Defeat Cancer

In Health
Cancer

The Biden Administration Sets a Target of 50% Cancer Death Rate Reduction in the Next 25 Years and Improving the Quality of Living with and Surviving Cancer.

In Summary

• The initiative was launched in 2016 and invested $1.8 billion in cancer research over seven years. Only $400 million of the project’s initial funding exists, and Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have no plans to announce more funding.

• The coronavirus infection drained healthcare resources and resulted in the cancellation of over 9.5 million cancer screenings.

• President Biden has committed to a bilateral effort with the United Kingdom to address cancer’s challenges jointly.

• Further, the initiative will address underlying disparities in cancer screening and treatment access.

Cancer
Joe Biden. PHOTO: COURTESY

Biden re-launch effort to cut cancer deaths by 50%

US President Joe Biden announced the resumption of a government “moonshot” effort targeted at slashing cancer mortality by half in the next 25 years.

The initiative began in 2016 and invested $1.8 billion in cancer research over seven years. Biden, whose 46-year-old son Beau died of brain cancer in 2015, spearheaded the initial initiative while a vice president.

US officials believe only $400 million of the initial funding remains, although Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are not set to announce more funding.

Rather than that, the White House announced Wednesday that it would “reignite” the initiative with “renewed White House leadership.”

Biden was slated to deliver remarks Wednesday from the White House’s East Room, alongside Harris, members of Congress, and approximately 100 members of the cancer community, including patients, survivors, caregivers, families, advocacy groups, and research organizations.

Cancer
American Cancer Society. PHOTO COURTESY

According to the White House, the resurrected initiative will rely on “progress in cancer therapies, diagnostics, and patient-centered care, as well as scientific discoveries and public health lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“It is now possible to set ambitious goals, including halving the death rate from cancer over the next 25 years,” the White House said, adding that Biden would announce the initiative with a “call to action” on cancer screening.

In 2022, the American Cancer Society estimates that 1,918,030 new cancer cases will be diagnosed, and 609,360 cancer deaths will occur. Biden’s goal is to essentially save more than 300,000 lives every year from the disease, which the government feels is doable given that the age-adjusted death rate has already decreased by around 25% over the last two decades.

According to officials, the coronavirus pandemic has drained healthcare resources and resulted in the cancellation of almost 9.5 million cancer screenings.

COVID19 drains the healthcare resources exacerbates suffering of cancer patients

The Biden Administration Has Tended to Honor his Commitment

President Biden’s first budget sustained robust funding for biomedical and health research, including increased funding for the NIH and NCI, as well as full funding for the 21st Century Cures Act and the NCI’s Beau Biden Cancer Moonshot Initiative.

In the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), President Biden outlined a bold new vision for biomedical and health research. The purpose of this entity is to strengthen the US government’s capacity to accelerate research that advances human health – to strengthen the capacity to prevent, detect, and treat a variety of diseases, including cancer, infectious diseases, and Alzheimer’s disease. ARPA-H funding has already been included in congressional spending and authorization measures.

President Biden has committed to a bilateral effort with the United Kingdom to combat cancer jointly. This has already resulted in the November 2021 US-UK Cancer Scientific Meeting, which brought together leaders, patient advocates, and oncology research specialists to develop suggestions for how the two countries should collaborate to accelerate progress against cancer.

The initiative is based on advancements that enable medical professionals to diagnose cancer earlier and advances in technologies that may progress in cancer prevention. Additionally, it will strive to address underlying inequities in cancer screening and treatment access.

According to the White House, the effort will entail the establishment of a “cancer cabinet” comprised of 18 federal departments, agencies, and offices, including representatives from the Departments of Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs, Defense, Energy, and Agriculture.

Additionally, the White House will host a cancer summit and continue its roundtable discussion series on the subject.

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