Vice President Joe Biden gave an update on his Cancer Moonshot initiative Monday. He spoke at the Social Good Summit about how far the initiative has come since its launch in January, with the goal of accelerating cancer research and making treatments available to more people.
Biden announced upcoming aspects for the Moonshot, which is a collaborative effort between the federal government, many cancer research institutes, drug companies, and hospitals.
Here are the highlights:
1. Technology and data
Biden praised the power of new technology like IBM Watson, in finding new treatments for cancer. He has been pushing for months to have cancer research centers share data, so systems like IBM Watson can help doctors and researchers work more efficiently.
2. New treatments
Cancer treatments like immunotherapies that have made serious changes in the last few years got a serious shout-out from Biden. Both Bristol-Myers Squibb and Merck have immuno-oncology drugs available on the market, with Roche and AstraZeneca currently developing their own.
These treatments have completely changed the way cancer treatment is thought of.
"We have new therapies like immunologies that boost your immune system instead of harming it like traditional treatments," Biden said.
He also called out the effectiveness of the HPV vaccine, which prevents many types of cervical cancer.
3. Information sharing
Biden said in his travels around the country and the world that he found a lack of data and record sharing. He has called on research institutions and hospitals to share data, but he also aims to have those affected by cancer sharing their health information to a massive database. That would enable systems like Watson and other cognitive computing and analytics systems to work from millions of records.
4. International effort
Finally, Biden is pushing the Cancer Moonshot globally. He’s working with leaders in many nations to bring together even more data, technology, and treatments. He’s establishing regional hubs of cancer research around the world and working cancer research into international science and technology engagements.
"The world is beginnig to rally around this effort," he said. " Every head of state I meet with eventually asks me how they can work on the Moonshot effort."