Vice President boosts the battle against cancer

“If you are ever going to be involved in cancer research, this is the moment,” Vice President Joe Biden told a packed Davis Center ballroom at the University of Vermont Oct. 21. “This is the inflection point.”

In January 2016, President Obama put Biden at the helm of the national $1 billion “Cancer Moonshot” initiative, which aims to rapidly accelerate the development of effective cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment strategies.

The focus at UVM and in Vermont is on creating a partnership among a clinician, a scientist and a patient.

Gary Stein, PhD, director, UVM Cancer Center

It’s a personal battle for Biden, who lost his son Beau to glioblastoma last year. “What I’ve found out is the incredible diversity of disciplines that are needed to ultimately get to the bottom of what causes a mutant gene to become mutant — what causes it to become cancer,” he said.

A collaborative approach is a hallmark of the Cancer Moonshot initiative, which promotes open sharing of information as well as leveraging of resources from across the private sector (like IBM’s Watson computer) and government agencies not previously linked to the cancer fight.

When Biden concluded his remarks, co-panelist Gary Stein, PhD, director of the UVM Cancer Center, remarked that Biden’s vision “resonates incredibly well with the culture in Vermont, what the university does, and what the UVM Cancer Center does, because here what you have is an emphasis on communication and collaboration.”

Learn more about the University of Vermont Cancer Center.