President Joe Biden announced a new “American Moonshot” on Monday that aims to end cancer “as we know it” on the 60th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s well-known moonshot address.
During a speech at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum in Boston, Biden said, “President Kennedy established a goal to win the space race against Russia and develop science and technology for all mankind.” On the 60th anniversary of his clarion appeal, “and when he articulated that objective, he built a national purpose that could mobilize the American people and the common cause, and he succeeded. Now in our time, we confront another inflection moment.”
Kennedy’s daughter, Ambassador to Australia Caroline Kennedy provided the introductions before U.S. President Biden drew comparisons between his efforts and those of John F. Kennedy, who at the time proclaimed that America’s goal was to put a man on the moon, adding that both initiatives were revolutionary for their eras.
The same national goal, he asserted, “will help to organize and measure the best of our energy and abilities to eliminate cancer as we know it, and even cure cancers once and for all.”
The motivation is personal for Biden, who first introduced the moonshot as vice president only a few months after his son Beau passed away in 2015 from glioblastoma, a rare and severe type of brain cancer.
As one of the reasons he ran for president in 2020, Biden emphasized the significance of this cancer moonshot to him.
Biden said that “enormous progress” has been achieved in the nation’s battle against cancer in the years since President Richard Nixon signed the National Cancer Act in 1971. He added that progress has accelerated recently, with the death rate from cancer reducing by more than 25% over the previous 25 years. But behind heart disease, cancer continues to be the second-leading cause of death in the United States.
On Monday, Biden highlighted the role that technology may play in advancing efforts to discover a cure for cancer. Earlier this year, Biden relaunched the cancer moonshot campaign, outlining his aims to cut cancer deaths in half in the next 25 years.
“We need everyone to understand the game. That’s why I’m also asking the scientific and medical community to bring the boldest ideas to this fight. I’m calling on the business sector to create and test novel cures. Make pharmaceuticals more accessible. Share more data.” he said.
The federal government’s efforts and investments, according to Biden, will not be sufficient to cure cancer.