White House wants $1B to fund cancer 'moonshot'

WASHINGTON DC, USA – The White House said Monday, February 1, it wants $1 billion to "jump-start" a new task force to end cancer, known as the Moonshot initiative headed by US Vice President Joe Biden.

Already $195 million has been allocated to the National Institutes of Health so that work on new cancer research can begin immediately, a senior administration official told reporters.

US President Barack Obama's proposal for the fiscal year 2017 budget, being released February 9, will seek to add another $755 million for new cancer research at the NIH and US Food and Drug Administration.

Biden, whose son Beau died last year of brain cancer at age 46, will chair the first meeting of the task force later Monday.

"We're calling it a 'Moonshot,' and that's because I believe that this effort, like president (John F.) Kennedy's call to land on the moon 55 years ago, is truly a call to humankind – to be bold and do big things," Biden said in a statement.

The $1 billion should "make sure some of the best work going on has the funding that it needs," he added.

"Our job is to clear out the bureaucratic hurdles – and let science happen."

The program was first announced by Obama during his State of the Union address last month.

It aims to focus on areas such as developing cancer vaccines, early cancer detection, and promising new techniques for eradicating cancer, such as immunotherapy.

Enhanced sharing of data, genomic analysis of tumors and research into pediatric cancer will also be areas of focus.

Cancer is diagnosed in about 14 million people around the globe each year and kills some 8 million, according to the World Health Organization. – Rappler.com