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A Shared Commitment for Accelerating Progress with the Cancer Moonshot

, by Douglas R. Lowy, M.D.

Vice President Joe Biden, speaking at the American Association for Cancer Research 2016 annual meeting.

Credit: AACR/Todd Buchanan

We’re coming off an exciting week for the cancer research community and the ongoing efforts behind the Vice President’s National Cancer Moonshot Initiative.

The big event, which took place in New Orleans, was the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), which featured many oral and poster presentations of promising results, from basic research studies to late-stage clinical trials.

In addition, the recently announced Blue Ribbon Panel for the Vice President’s Initiative held its first in-person meeting on Monday in New Orleans.

Finally, just this afternoon, Vice President Biden, in a historic appearance, delivered remarks to AACR meeting attendees about the Moonshot Initiative. He highlighted the critical roles of NCI, the cancer research community, organizations such as AACR, patient advocates, and other stakeholders in accelerating progress against cancer. [Vice President Biden has also made available a transcript of his remarks.]

Douglas R. Lowy, M.D. Deputy Director, National Cancer Institute

Introduced by his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, the Vice President set the stage for the opportunities and challenges before the research community.

“You’ve given humanity a sense of hope and, I might add, expectation,” he said. “My job, and my commitment, is to bring together all of the human, financial, and knowledge resources we have in the world to seize this moment, to make a quantum leap, to make a decade’s worth of progress in 5 years.”

While the Vice President applauded the dedication and notable achievements of the cancer research community several times, he also challenged the community to tell him how he can help to make it easier for investigators to pursue their proposed research, how to accelerate progress, and what bottlenecks, such as bureaucratic delays, might be overcome through his efforts.

I am going home exhilarated, while pondering a long list of constructive changes to consider.

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