VP Biden speaks about cancer initiative at Duke

Wednesday, February 10, 2016
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Vice President Joe Biden visited Duke University to discuss cancer research

DURHAM (WTVD) -- Vice President Joe Biden drew a packed house at the Duke Medical Center on Wednesday.

Biden led a round table with oncologists, researchers, and public health leaders as part of the Obama Administration's new "Moon Shot" initiative.

In front of about a hundred people, mostly dignitaries and officials in the public health and research fields, Biden discussed the government's new, $1 billion push to "end cancer as we know it" and the Administration's "absolute commitment" to that cause.

Biden's son, Beau, died of a brain tumor last year. He called for a "moon shot" for a cure when he announced in October that he wouldn't run for president.

In his State of the Union address, President Obama gave Biden the reins of the initiative and announced he was putting Biden "in charge of mission control."

"We need absolute national commitment," Biden told the crowd. "I'm not naive to think we're going to find a cure. We're talking about prevention and early detection."

Biden said there needs to be increased access to clinical trials, and ways to reduce the cost of them.

"I'm convinced we can get answers and come up with game-changing treatments and get them to people who need them," Biden said. "We have an opportunity to fundamentally change the trajectory."

"Right here at Duke," Biden told doctors and nurses in the crowd, "you have an incredible operation. You're on the cusp of great advances. The science is ready, it seems to me."

The panel stressed a number of important focal points going forward, including better information sharing between research teams, better utilization of "big data," and quicker access to clinical trials.

"We live in a country where there shouldn't be 30 cancer patients waiting in line to get into a clinical trial," a panelist told the Vice President. "We need to get those drugs to patients."

Biden was optimistic.

"We're looking to double the rate" of cancer research, Biden said. "A decade's worth of advances in the next five years and end cancer as we know it."

Biden stressed that the mission of the "Moon Shot" initiative is not to create bigger government, but a more helpful government. "Where you view us as a stumbling block," he told panelists, "I want to make sure that's eliminated.

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