Vice President Joe Biden is taking aim on cancer, and the University of Arizona Cancer Center wants to help.
In May 2015, Biden's son, Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, succumbed after a lengthy battle with brain cancer. Shortly after, Biden set up a task force to search for ways to increase everyone's odds for survival against cancer, which is still the leading cause of death worldwide.
The Cancer Moonshot was announced on Jan. 12, with President Barack Obama founding the official White House Cancer Moonshot Task Force two weeks later.
On Wednesday, the task force held its first nationwide Cancer Moonshot Summit, which included conversations in communities across the United States, including Tucson at the UACC.
"The Moonshot cannot be achieved by one person, one organization, one discipline, or even one collective approach," Biden said. "Solving the complexities of cancer will require the formation of new alliances to defy the bounds of innovation and accelerate the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and ultimately, a cure. It's going to require millions of Americans speaking up and contributing what they're able. That’s what the Cancer Moonshot Summit is all about."
These conversations, or "regional summits," will be the first time that individuals and organizations representing the entire cancer community and beyond — researchers, oncologists, care providers, philanthropists, data and tech experts, advocates, patients and survivors — convene under the national charge to double the rate of progress toward a cure in the next five years.
The goal of the summit is to spur discussions throughout the country and open the door for new collaborations, while creating a formal mechanism for individuals and organizations representing all types of cancers to have direct engagement with the Cancer Moonshot Initiative.
This summit is the first to focus broadly on the more than 100 types of cancer, rather than on one specific form of the disease.
The UA Cancer Center was selected to serve as a host site for one of the regional summits. The summit included opening remarks from UACC director Andrew S. Kraft, a connection with the national summit via live streaming to hear Biden's comments from Washington, D.C., and roundtable discussions facilitated by some of UACC's top cancer experts.
The UACC is one of 45 comprehensive cancer centers in the nation and the only one headquartered in and serving the state of Arizona that has been designated by the National Cancer Institute as a Comprehensive Cancer Center, the NCI’s highest designation. The UACC's 73 research labs and more than 300 nationally and internationally renowned physician and scientist members work to bring the power of research to cancer prevention and treatment through a direct link between the latest research discoveries and patient care.
-Nick Prevenas, UA News