HomeWorldBiden hopes ending cancer could be America's 'national objective'

Biden hopes ending cancer could be America’s ‘national objective’

President Joe Biden is urging Americans to come together for a new “national purpose” — his administration’s effort to end cancer “as we know it.”

President Joe Biden is urging Americans to come together for a new “national purpose” — his administration’s effort to end cancer “as we know it.”

President Joe Biden on September 12 urged Americans to come together for a new “national purpose” — his administration’s effort to end cancer “as we know it.”

At the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Mr. Biden broadcast JFK’s famous moonshot speech from 60 years ago, comparing the space race to his own effort and hoping it would inspire Americans as well.

Of Kennedy’s space effort, Mr. Biden said, “He established a national purpose that could unite the American people and a common cause.”

Mr Biden hopes to move America closer to the goal set in February, which would reduce US cancer deaths by 50% over the next 25 years and dramatically improve the lives of caregivers and people living with cancer. Will happen. Experts say the objective is attainable – with substantial investment.

The president called his goal of developing treatments and therapeutics for cancer “daring, ambitious, and might I add, completely doable.”

In his speech, Mr Biden called on the private sector to make medicines more affordable and make data available regularly. He made medical progress possible with focused research, funding, and data.

And he spoke of a new federally-backed study that calls for evidence for using blood tests to screen against multiple cancers — potentially playing a role in clinical trials to dramatically improve early detection of cancer. -changer.

White House coordinator Danielle Carnival pointed to the effort The Associated Press That administration sees great potential in starting blood diagnostic studies to identify cancer.

“One of the most promising technologies is the development of a blood test that holds the promise of detecting multiple cancers in a single blood test and really visualizing the impact that will have on our ability to detect cancers early and more equitably.” But it might be,” Ms. Carnival said. “We think the best way to get us to where they felt is to really test the technologies we have today and see what works and really has an impact on the extension of life.” “

The American Cancer Society estimates that 1.9 million new cancer cases will be diagnosed in 2022 and 609,360 people will die from cancer diseases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ranks cancer as the second biggest killer in the US after heart disease.

The issue is personal for Mr Biden, who lost his adult son Beau to brain cancer in 2015. After Beau’s death, Congress passed the 21st Century Cure Act, which dedicated $1.8 billion over seven years to cancer research and was signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2016.

Mr. Obama named Mr. Biden, then-Vice-President, to run “mission control” on directing cancer funds as a recognition of Mr. Biden’s grief as a parent and a desire to do something about it. Mr Biden wrote in his memoir “Promise Me, Dad” that he chose not to run for president in 2016 mainly because of Beau’s death.

The current initiative lacks the same level of budgetary support, despite Mr Biden’s efforts to back Kennedy and his space program. The Apollo program received massive public investment—more than $20 billion adjusted for inflation, or more than $220 billion in 2022 dollars. Biden’s effort is far more modest and reliant on private sector investment.

Still, he has tried to keep the momentum going for investment in public health research, including championing the Agency for Advanced Research Projects on Health, modeled after similar research and development initiatives benefiting the Pentagon and the intelligence community. has been done.

On Monday, Mr. Biden announced Dr. Renee Wegrzin as the inaugural director of ARPA-H, which has been tasked with studying treatments and potential cures for cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and other diseases. They also announced a new National Cancer Institute Scholars Program to provide funding to early-career scientists studying cancer treatments and cures, with a focus on underrepresented groups and people from diverse backgrounds. Is.

The president was also joined by JFK’s daughter Caroline Kennedy, who is now the US ambassador to Australia. He reiterated his administration’s efforts later Monday in a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee.

Experts agree that it is too early to say whether these new blood tests to detect cancer in healthy people will have any effect on cancer deaths. No studies have been done to show that they reduce the risk of dying from cancer. Still, he says it’s important to set an ambitious goal.

Ms Carnival said the National Cancer Institute study was designed to allow any promising clinical results to be rapidly put into widespread practice, while longer-term studies – expected to last a decade Has – makes progress. She said the goal was to move closer to a future where cancer could be detected through routine blood work, potentially reducing the need for more invasive and cumbersome procedures such as colonoscopy, and therefore saving lives. .

Scientists now understand that cancer is not a single disease, but hundreds of diseases that respond differently to different treatments. Some cancers have biomarkers that can be targeted by existing drugs that will slow tumor growth. Many more targets await discovery.

“How do we learn which treatments are effective in which subtype of disease? That’s marine to me,” said Donald A. Berry, a biostatistician at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. “The possibilities are huge. The challenges are huge.”

Despite the challenges, he is optimistic about halving cancer mortality in the next 25 years.

“We can achieve that 50% goal by sufficiently slowing the disease in various cancers without curing them,” Mr Berry said. “If I bet on whether we’ll get to this 50% reduction, I’d bet yes.”

Even without new breakthroughs, progress can be made by making care more equitable, said Dr. Crystal Denlinger, chief scientific officer of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, a group of elite cancer centers.

And any effort to reduce cancer mortality will need to focus on the biggest cancer killer, which is lung cancer. Mostly caused by smoking, lung cancer now causes more cancer deaths than any other cancer. Of the 1,670 cancer deaths in the United States every day, more than 350 are from lung cancer.

Lung cancer screening is helping. The American Cancer Society says such screening helped reduce cancer mortality by 32% from its peak from 1991 to 2019, the most recent year for which numbers are available.

But only 5% of eligible patients are being screened for lung cancer.

In his speech, Mr Biden highlighted provisions in Democrats’ health care and climate change bills that the administration believes will lower drug prices for some widely used cancer treatments. And they celebrated new guarantees for veterans exposed to toxic burn pits, which cover their potential cancer diagnosis.

Dr. Michael Hassett of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston said Mr. Biden’s goal of reducing cancer deaths could be accomplished by following two parallel paths: one by finding and ensuring that more More and more people are taking advantage of the existing facilities. Treatment and preventive approaches.

“If we can address both aspects, both challenges, great progress is possible,” Dr Hassett said.

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