TUESDAY, Sept. 13, 2022 (HealthDay News) — President Joe Biden made a renewed push for his cancer moonshot initiative Monday.
Speaking at Boston’s famed John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Biden compared JFK’s space race to his own efforts to cut cancer rates by 50% over the next 25 years.
“He created a national purpose that could bring the American people together and a common cause,” Biden said of Kennedy’s space efforts.
“And I believe we can initiate the same reluctance to procrastinate, the same national purpose that will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and abilities to end cancer as we know it and even cancer.” to heal once and for all.” he added.
In his speech, Biden said the US National Cancer Institute (NCI) has started a study that will look at using blood tests to screen for several types of cancer.
Danielle Carnival, the White House coordinator for the cancer effort, said Associated Press that the Biden administration sees tremendous potential in such blood tests.
“One of the most promising technologies has been the development of blood tests, which promise to be able to detect multiple types of cancer in a single blood test, and to really imagine the impact that could have on our ability to detect cancer early and more fairly,” Karneval said.
Carnival said the National Cancer Institute study was designed so that any promising results could be rapidly translated into clinical practice while the longer study — expected to last up to a decade — continues. She said the goal is to detect cancer through routine blood work instead of invasive tests and biopsies.
The issue is personal for Biden, who lost his son Beau to brain cancer in 2015. After Beau’s death, Congress passed the 21st Century Cures Act, which earmarked $1.8 billion for cancer research over seven years and was signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2016.
Despite this, the cancer initiative lacks the same funding as the space program. More than $20 billion, equivalent to more than $220 billion in 2022, has been poured into the Apollo space program AP reported.
While promoting the Cancer Initiative on Monday, Biden announced that Dr. Renee Wegrzyn will become the first director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), tasked with investigating possible treatments and cures for cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and other diseases. Biden also announced a new NCI program that will fund young scientists studying treatments and cures for cancer, with a focus on underrepresented groups.
Even without new breakthroughs, progress can be made by making cancer treatment more equitable, said Dr. Crystal Denlinger, chief scientific officer of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network AP.
But any effort to reduce the cancer death rate must focus on the biggest cancer killer, lung cancer AP reported. Lung cancer, mainly due to smoking, now causes more cancer deaths than any other cancer.
Lung cancer prevention helps. The American Cancer Society says such screening has helped reduce the cancer death rate by 32% from its peak between 1991 and 2019 AP reported.
Visit the US National Cancer Institute to learn more about the Cancer Moonshot program.
SOURCE: White House press release, September 12, 2022; Associated Press