What Biden's Cancer 'Moonshot' Might Mean

For one thing, think 'moonshots,' plural
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 13, 2016 11:38 AM CST
In this 2008 photo, Joe Biden embraces his son Beau, who died of cancer last year.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)
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(Newser) – President Obama put Joe Biden in charge of a national "moonshot" to cure cancer during Tuesday night's State of the Union address. Some related reading:

  • Given the myriad cancers out there, it won't be one giant moonshot so much as many smaller moonshots, reports the Washington Post. One tangible idea: creation of a massive national database of all cancer patients and their treatments.
  • Gathering that kind of data might require Biden to use his clout to overcome well-meaning privacy laws such as HIPAA, one expert tells STAT.
  • Biden himself explains the "personal" mission in a post at Medium. "The science is ready."
  • But during the State of the Union, he seemed surprised at Obama's announcement, notes Time.

  • One buzzword is "immunotherapies," and a billionaire entrepreneur has created a coalition of drug and biotech companies to work on combination treatments rather than focusing on single drugs, reports Bloomberg. The group is called Moonshot 2020 and has met with Biden.
  • The VP has been working on this for about three months now, and USA Today has an overview of the progress (lots of "listening sessions" so far, but also increased funding for the NIH).
  • Health News Review hates the term "moonshot" because of the "flamboyant, unsubstantiated promises" it fosters.
(Read more cancer stories.)

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