Biden Announces Cancer Moonshot Initiative at ASCO Annual Conference

Vice President Joe Biden has been crisscrossing the country to push the federal government's overall cancer "moonshot" initiative, speaking at cancer centers and addressing oncology professional societies, making the case for breaking down existing silos to accelerate cancer research and delivery.

Earlier this year, in April, Biden spoke to more than 4,000 attendees at the American Association for Cancer Research's annual meeting in New Orleans, and two weeks ago brought his message to an audience of about 6,000 at the American Society of Clinical Oncology's (ASCO) annual meeting held in Chicago. Biden's theme at ASCO paralleled that of the annual meeting.

"This year, [ASCO's theme] is harnessing the collective wisdom of oncologists around the world to put patients at the center of research and care. That's exactly what I'm trying to do in the cancer moonshot, and it matters." noted Biden.

In addition to reiterating moonshot's critical priorities, Biden noted his vision of making data-sharing a reality by stressing the importance of developing a new mindset, while acknowledging ASCO's CancerLinQ project, and mentioned a new initiative launched that day by the NCI -- the Genomic Data Commons.

Prior to Biden’s address, there already existed two ASCO events related to the moonshot initiative: a press briefing dealing with critical priorities for the initiative, focusing on ASCO's involvement, and a panel discussion featuring members of the National Cancer Advisory Board's Blue Ribbon Panel, during which audience members were asked to submit ideas about the initiative.

In a subsequent press briefing, ASCO's CEO Allen S. Lichter, MD, chief medical officer Schilsky, and CancerLinQ medical director Robert S. Miller, MD, Blue Ribbon panelist Deborah Mayer, PhD, RN (who also appeared at the earlier panel discussion), and CancerLinQ CEO Kevin Fitzpatrick, who served as moderator, collectively underscored the final point.