Cancer 'moonshot' efforts take off

President Barack Obama signed a memorandum Thursday that officially kicked off Vice President Joe Biden's "moonshot" initiative to improve cancer care and research in his final year in office.

The memorandum established a task force, which will be chaired by Vice President Biden and include the Department of Defense, HHS, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Food and Drug Administration, the National Cancer Institute, the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, among other executive branch departments and agencies. 

The task force will be funded by the NIH. It will focus resources on accelerating our knowledge of cancer, prevention, early detection, treatment and cures; as well as on improving patient access and care; supporting greater access to research and data; encouraging development of cancer treatments; addressing regulatory barriers and identifying opportunities for public-private partnerships.

Vice President Biden will convene the first meeting of the task force on Monday.

"We're not trying to make incremental change here," Vice President Biden wrote in a statement on the initiative. "We're trying to get to a quantum leap on the path to a cure. That's the goal of this moonshot. To make a decade worth of advances in five years —and, eventually, end cancer as we know it."


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