Former Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden, Ph.D., today plan to launch their new venture to continue the fight to make progress in cancer prevention, detection, treatment, and care.

The Biden Cancer Initiative is designed to develop and help accelerate progress in cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis, research, and care, as well as reduce disparities in cancer outcomes.

The Initiative also aims to help drive new actions and collaborations toward the ambitious goal of ending cancer—actions that according to the Bidens will reimagine how the government, academia, nonprofits, and the private sector can better collaborate to fight cancer and focus on patients.

“Every minute, every day matters to patients, and we must bring that same sense of urgency to cancer research and care systems,” the Bidens said in a statement. “We are joining everyone who spends their days thinking about preventing cancer, about better understanding its biological basis, about bringing early detection and education to all communities, about developing new treatments and therapies, and about caring for patients and their families through some of the hardest days anyone faces.”

The Initiative is the successor to the “Moonshot” national effort launched in January 2016 by then-President Barack Obama to achieve a decade's worth of advances against cancer in 5 years.

Obama’s successor, Donald Trump, in May signed a budget agreement for the current federal fiscal year that increased the budget of the NIH’s National Cancer Institute (NCI) 9%, to $5.7 billion—the largest hike by dollars, $475.8 million, among the agency’s 27 centers and institutes. However, his proposed budget for FY 2018 calls for an 18.7% ($1.031 billion) cut in the NCI’s budget, to $4.474 billion.

The Biden Cancer Initiative will be launched at an afternoon event at the Alexandria Center for Life Science in New York. The former vice president—who lost his son Beau, 46, to brain cancer in 2015—and Dr. Biden will join members of the Initiative’s Board of Directors for a conversation about the mission of the Initiative, the issues it will address, and the promise of what they hope to accomplish together.

Initiative Board, Staff Named

The Bidens will co-chair the board, whose members will include leaders and experts in the fields of medical research, patient care, information technology, finance, management, patient engagement, patient experience, and public policy.

Joining the Bidens on the board are:

  • David B. Agus, M.D., professor of medicine and engineering, University of Southern California, and the founding director and CEO, Lawrence J. Ellison Institute for Transformative Medicine of USC.
  • Erin Andrews, FOX Sports' lead NFL sideline reporter; co-host, ABC's Dancing With The Stars.
  • David G. Bradley, chairman, Atlantic Media Company; founder, Advisory Board Company; founder, Corporate Advisory Board Company
  • Carol L. Brown, M.D., director, Office of Diversity Programs in Clinical Care, Research, and Training, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
  • Jimmy “Taboo” Gomez, a cancer survivor and rapper with the pop group Black Eyed Peas
  • Julie Papanek Grant, M.B.A., M.Phil., partner, Canaan Partners
  • Elizabeth Jaffee, M.D., deputy director, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins University
  • Howard Krein, M.D., Ph.D., senior director of Health Policy and Innovation, Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center and associate professor, facial plastic and reconstructive surgery, microvascular surgery, department of otolaryngology/head and neck surgery, Thomas Jefferson University
  • Eric S. Lander, Ph.D., director, Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT
  • Todd Park, former U.S. Chief Technology Officer
  • Gregory C. Simon, J.D., president, Biden Cancer Initiative
  • Kim Thiboldeaux, CEO, Cancer Support Community
  • Jeffrey Zients, former Assistant to the President for Economic Policy and Director of the National Economic Council

Simon previously served as the executive director of the White House Cancer Moonshot Task Force, and is a survivor who was successfully treated for chronic lymphocytic leukemia.  

Previously, Greg served as CEO of the financial services company Poliwogg, and before that as svp for worldwide policy and patient engagement at Pfizer. He joined Michael Milken in co-founding FasterCures/The Center for Accelerating Medical solutions and co-founded the Melanoma Research Alliance with Leon and Debra Black.

The Initiative’s vice president will be Danielle Carnival, Ph.D., who previously served as chief of staff and senior policy director for the White House Cancer Moonshot Task Force. Katie Collins, a policy analyst for the Task Force and special assistant to its executive director, will serve as program director.

The Initiative said it is operating under a fiscal sponsorship agreement with the Biden Foundation, pending approval of its application with the Internal Revenue Service for tax-exempt status.

Previous articleOrgan Rejection’s Innate Instigator Cornered by Positional Cloning
Next articleRNA-Seq: Less Lumping, More Splitting