President Joe Biden was on Wednesday, February 2, introduced by the son of Ghanaian politician and businessman, Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom to relaunch the ‘Cancer Moonshot’ project he oversaw during the Obama administration.
Dr. Edjah Nduom, an Associate Professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at Emory University School of Medicine, who specializes in brain and spinal cord tumours extolled President Biden at the briefing for his commitment to fighting cancer.
“It is an honour to be here with you and to follow the path paved by your (Veep Kamala Harris’) mother (Gopalan Shyamala) and all the researchers that came before whose shoulders we stand on. To the first Lady, thank you for your empathy and for truly understanding the pain and the promise, that is this fight.
I am thrilled to be able to be here to introduce someone many of us consider to be the country’s patient advocate and chief, President Joe Biden.”
Dr. Edjah’s father is the founder of the Progressive People’s Party in Ghana and also Chief Executive of the Nduom Groupe.
According to Dr Nduom, as a Neurosurgeon scientist, constantly thinking of ways to treat cancer patients, to fight cancer and seeing countless patients every year and as a board member of the National Brain Tumour Society, this is “the most exciting moment in the history of our field.”
As Vice President, in 2016, Joe Biden launched the Cancer Moonshot with the mission to accelerate the rate of progress against cancer.
The goals for the revitalised project include reducing the death rate from cancer by at least 50 per cent over the next 25 years, improving the experience of people and their families living with and surviving cancer – and, by doing this and more, ending cancer today.
“We can do this. I promise you, we can do this. For all those, we lost, for all those we miss. We can end cancer as we know it,” Biden said in remarks at the White House.
According to a fact sheet by the White House, Biden is optimistic due to recent progress in cancer therapeutics, diagnostics, and patient-driven care, as well as the scientific advances and public health lessons of the Covid-19 pandemic, thus it’s now possible to set ambitious goals.
President Biden said he has formed a new Cancer Cabinet, which will be convened in the coming weeks.
“They will drive the whole-of-government effort to unleash every possibility within our power to end cancer as we know it,” he added.
Chief executive officer of the American Association for Cancer Research, Margaret Foti, lauded the new cancer initiative, stating that increased prevention and early detection efforts could help reduce death rates greatly.
She, however, added that developing such improvements are costly, therefore, said: “We need to make sure there’s funding available to develop the new technologies and implement them.”
The fight against cancer is personal to Biden, as he lost his son Beau in 2015 to brain cancer. The former Delaware attorney general died aged 46.
According to international outlets, Congress provided $1.8 billion for the 2016 moonshot, parcelled out over seven years. Two years of funding remains, a figure of about $400 million.
In the President’s first budget, he sustained strong funding for biomedical and health research with increased funding for the NIH and NCI, and full funding for the 21st Century Cures Act and the Beau Biden Cancer Moonshot Initiative at the NCI.