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How the White House Cancer Moonshot can have real impact

The Cancer Moonshot is a high priority for President Biden, and we saw further evidence of this by the mention in his State of the Union last month. The goal – to cut the death rate by at least 50% over the next 25 years – was originally launched in 2016 when Biden served as Vice President and was reinstated early in Biden’s presidency.

The Cancer Moonshot is placing a considerable amount of energy on bringing private sector, foundations, academia, healthcare providers, and patients into the fold to offer ideas on how the government can work with external stakeholders to combat cancer. So far, the White House has released several fact sheets commemorating pivotal moments in the Biden Administration’s mission and how the private sector is helping to bolster this work.

This moonshot has the potential to cross partisan lines, expand work into agencies outside of traditional health silos, and catalyze external support. There are a few areas where this could happen:

New leadership in the Senate Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions Committee could lead to an increased focus on cancer prevention. With Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-VT) focused on consumer rights and Ranking Member Bill Cassidy (R-LA) bringing his prior medical expertise, there are ample opportunities for collaboration. We expect to see similar bipartisan work in the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Appropriations Committees can help combat cancer through federal spending priorities. In the last spending cycle, the Appropriations Committees appropriated a $408 million spending boost for the National Cancer Institute, as well as $2.5 billion for biomedical research funding at the National Institutes of Health.

Public-private partnerships will lead government. The private sector has clearly demonstrated interest in collaborating with the federal government to reduce cancer rates, and the White House is expected to continue to lean on this innovative work. By offering strong federal research facilities and making data more accessible to the public, the federal government can create a stronger foundation for the private sector to innovate in this space.


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