President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are using their final year in office to focus on a pressing problem: Cancer. In 2015, Biden lost his son Beau to brain cancer. His death helped spark the 21st Century Cures Act.
The bill, which Obama signed into law in early December, aims to “end cancer as we know it” by investing billions in cancer research.
“Like many of you, I believe that the United States of America should be the country that ends cancer once and for all,” the president said, notes the Independent. “We’re already closer than a lot of folks think, and this bill will bring us even closer, investing in promising new therapies, developing vaccines, and improving cancer detection and prevention.”
Earlier in 2016, Biden launched his own billion-dollar U.S. Cancer Moonshot, notes Nature. Biden echoed Obama’s statement that the plan is “to eliminate cancer as we know it.”
And the U.S. government is not the only heavyweight entering the race to cure cancer. In April, billionaire philanthropist Sean Parker announced his Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy -- a $250 million research consortium he hopes will end cancer through advanced immunotherapy.
Both projects are betting big on immunotherapy, which uses the body’s own immune system to fight and defend against cancer. The treatment “is poised to be a critical part of our nation’s anticancer strategy,” Biden said.
“The 21st Century Cures Act is going to harness America's best minds of science, medicine and technology to tackle some of our biggest and most complex health challenges of today," Biden said at the bill’s signing, notes the Independent.
Obama, who lost his mother to cancer when she was 52, added that the signing was a “bittersweet day.”