Joe Biden Is Back and Ready to Take Down Cancer

As part of the Moonshot's work, the National Cancer Institute and the University of Chicago previous year launched the Genonic Data Commons, a platform for collecting and storing more than 30,000 cancer patients' genomic datasets.

"Many of you are developing technologies and innovations for purposes large and small, fun and serious, entertaining and lifesaving, that have nothing to do with cancer - but you could make a big impact", he said, his voice booming.

"That's why we need your help-you are the future", he said.

But Biden also highlighted some of the ongoing initiatives in the Cancer Moonshot aimed at making cancer research data more available to doctors, including the National Cancer Institute's Genomic Data Commons that previously contained cancer sequencing information for 14,000 patients, but was inaccessible to clinicians and researchers.

As Biden spent time with cancer experts, he concluded that those at different institutions, with different types of expertise, too often worked in isolation, in part because they lacked tools to share their data and discoveries.

Biden said the innovators at SXSW were the ideal people for the task, and that the tech industry could be instrumental in helping with cancer research. "I'm confident that the new administration, once it gets organized-and I'm not being facetious-will be as enthusiastic of ending cancer as we know it", he said.

He did talk a little politics, of course, chronicling the successful bipartisan campaign he led to secure $6.3 billion in funding for the 21st Century Cures Act, which includes funding for the cancer initiative.

Those fortunate enough to listen to Biden speak secured a limited number of wristbands (that went quickly) to gain entry into the ballroom where Biden spoke after being introduced by his wife, Dr. Jill Biden.




In a rallying cry to convince the "most innovative minds in the world" to join him in his efforts, Biden conveyed a message of hope on Sunday afternoon in Austin, Texas.

As an example, Biden cited a case in which under the administration of former President Barack Obama, $30 million was awarded to improve electronic recordkeeping.

"I can take my cell phone and find out movie times, or track a check in the bank", Joe Biden said in a keynote address at SXSW.

"I'm optimistic about the American people", Biden said.

But the tone took a serious turn as Biden credited the death of his son, "my Beau" Biden, who died at 46 years old almost two years ago due to brain cancer, as the reason behind his anticancer crusade. "So, definitely, it should be something that anyone, from whatever background they're in, should support", said Samantha Simunyu who was also at Biden's event.

"The core of the Republicans in Congress and Democrats are good, decent, honorable people", Biden added. "I am unable to postpone for one day longer the things we can do now to extend people's lives", Biden said.

On an earlier panel Sunday, Greg Simon, director of the Biden Cancer Initiative, said, "We're not trying to start another war on cancer, we're trying to finish that one". "We can make enormous, enormous, enormous progress'".

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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