President Joe Biden presented initiatives to bolster his "Cancer Moonshot" endeavor on the 60th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s moonshot address.
Biden urged Americans on Monday to seek a new “national purpose" in his effort to end cancer "as we know it," the president said.
At the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, the president took cues from JFK's famed 60-year-old moonshot speech, comparing the space race to his effort, trying to motivate Americans and lawmakers.
Biden said of his efforts, while evoking JFK's, “He established a national purpose that could rally the American people and a common cause,” he said of Kennedy's space effort.
Biden said, “we can usher in the same unwillingness to postpone.”
The White House announced the appointment of Dr. Renee Wegrzyn as the inaugural director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health. The White House said the agency will “ support programs and projects that undertake challenges ranging from the molecular to the societal, with the potential to transform entire areas of medicine and health in order to prevent, detect, and treat some of the most complex diseases such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and cancer, providing benefits for all Americans.”
Biden signed an executive order that establishes the Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Initiative to ensure cutting-edge biotechnologies necessary to end cancer. The White House said the program “will save lives, create jobs at home, build stronger supply chains, and lower prices for American families even in times of global turbulence.”
Earlier this year, Biden announced the formation of a cancer cabinet. He said the group has the following five goals: (1) close the screening gap, (2) understand and address environmental exposure, (3) decrease the impact of preventable cancers, (4) bring cutting-edge research through the pipeline to patients and communities, and (5) support patients and caregivers.
Biden’s son Beau died of brain cancer in 2015. Following his death, then-President Barack Obama tasked Biden with leading efforts to reduce cancer rates in the U.S.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1,752,735 new cancer cases were reported and 599,589 people died of cancer in 2019 in the United States.