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Obama Meets With Task Force Over Billion-Dollar Effort To Cure Cancer


Source: SAUL LOEB / Getty

In addition to holding a meeting today to begin the Moonshot Cancer Task Force, the White House says that President Obama will ask for $755 million out of year’s budget for his efforts in fighting cancer. $195 million was previously set aside for the current fiscal year.

The first set of money is to go towards new cancer research at the National Institutes of Health to mobilize new cancer treatment options and detection practices. It will also go towards new prevention efforts, specifically for developing a vaccine. Obama’s statement on the White House website says that part of the task force’s aim is to build collaborations among doctors, charities, patients, cancer advocates, and biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.

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Obama first made noise about the project at his final State of the Union last January when he named Vice President Biden as “mission control.” The task force has been named “moonshot” after one of Biden’s soundbites discussing his goal of finding a cure to cancer during his announcement that he would not be running for president in 2016. Biden linked his decision to sitting out on the current race for the sake of his grieving family. Biden’s own son, Beau Biden, the 46-year-old former attorney general of Delaware, had died of brain cancer last May.

Biden now says that his goal is to accomplish in five years of cancer research and treatment advances that were previously slated for the next decade. Experts claim that a cure for cancer could be just upon the horizon, but that putting a five year deadline on the initiative could set false hopes.

The Moonshot Task Force is made up of 13 federal agencies including the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Defense Department.

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