Biden Administration Announces Relaunch of Cancer Moonshot

Targeted Therapies in Oncology, March 2022, Volume 11, Issue 4

An announcement, made on February 2, 2022, heralded the return of an initiative begun under President Barack Obama in 2016, when President Biden was vice president.

President Jospeh R. Biden relaunched the Cancer Moonshot program with the goals of reducing the cancer death rate by at least 50% over the next 25 years, improving the experience of patients, and ultimately eradicating the disease.1

The announcement, made on February 2, 2022, heralded the return of an initiative begun under President Barack Obama in 2016, when Biden was vice president.1

The Biden administration has made the Cancer Moonshot part of its health care agenda, which also prioritizes lowering health care costs and expanding patient coverage. Specific Cancer Moonshot goals include diagnosing cases earlier, addressing environmental exposures, dealing with inequities in access to treatment, accelerating the fight against pediatric cancers, and learning from the experiences of all patients.1

Biden said the initiative has bipartisan support and may garner attention from other nations but added that it will be expensive.2 “I’m also calling on the scientifi c and medical communities to bring the boldest thinking to this fi ght,” he said during remarks made in the East Room of the White House. “I’m calling on the private sector to develop and test new treatments, make drugs more affordable, and share more data and knowledge that can inform the public and benefi t every company’s research.”2

The nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the development of vaccines spurred the White House and investigators to explore the use of messenger RNA (mRNA) technology in the fi ght against cancer. The mRNA vaccines, designed to create an immune response to existing cancer, could also target some proteins made by tumors.3

Biden also discussed plans for the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), intended to strengthen the government’s ability to prevent, detect, and treat a variety of diseases including cancer.1 “The White House Offi ce of Science and Technology Policy, led by senior scientist and adviser [Eric Lander, PhD]…will chart the path for the Cancer Moonshot for 2022 and beyond,” the President said. “And I’m calling on Congress to fund my proposed ARPA-H.... This will be a new kind of entity within the National Institutes of Health…with autonomy and authorities to drive unprecedented progress in biomedicine.”2

REFERENCES:

1. Fact sheet: President Biden reignites Cancer Moonshot to end cancer as we know it. The White House. February 2, 2022. Accessed February 24, 2022. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefi ng-room/ statements-releases/2022/02/02/fact-sheet-president-biden-reignites-cancer-moonshot-to-end-cancer-as-we-know-it/

2. Remarks by President Biden at an event to reignite the Cancer Moonshot. The White House. February 2, 2022. Accessed February 24, 2022. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefi ng-room/speeches-remarks/2022/02/02/remarks-by-president-biden-at-an-event-to-reignite-the-cancer-moonshot/

3. Kaiser J. Biden’s ‘reignited’ Cancer Moonshot would develop blood tests to detect cancer and vaccines to prevent it. Science. February 2, 2022. Accessed February 24, 2022. https://www.science.org/ content/article/biden-s-reignited-cancer-moonshot-would-developblood-tests-detect-cancer-and-vaccines