Joe Biden Is Back and Ready to Take Down Cancer

Mar 14, 2017, 00:05
Joe Biden Is Back and Ready to Take Down Cancer

"This Cancer Moonshot, when it was born, we chose to take a new approach to conquering cancer", Biden said. Biden's son, Beau Biden, died of brain cancer two years ago at age 46.

Biden said the idea behind the initiative, created a year ago by former president Barack Obama, stemmed from a conversation as they were heading to the White House Rose Garden in October 2015 to announce that Biden would not be running for president.

Although Biden's speech wasn't listed on the official schedule for what would be shown via live stream from this year's SXSW, the event's Facebook page - which is where the live footage would be streamed on - said "we'll be live streaming exclusive conversations, red carpet coverage, and live performances on Facebook". Biden said Amazon called to offer up free cloud storage for all that data. "We need your help, we need your help".

After the support of his "close, close personal friend", Barack Obama, he explained, "Jill and I decided that we were going to devote at least a portion of the rest of our lives in this fight against cancer". He pointed to collaboration between the Veterans Administration, whose hospital system had troves of cancer data, and the Energy Department, which oversees U.S. supercomputing efforts. It was a lesson that hit close to home: When his son was undergoing treatment for cancer, Biden said, the U.S. Army's Walter Reed Medical Center was unable to transmit CAT scans to the University of Texas's MD Anderson Cancer Center because they stored such data in different systems.

"Guess what?" he said, invoking the folksy charm that has endeared him across party lines.

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Joe Biden stopped short of devoting significant time criticizing President Donald Trump's administration, but did draw applause at one point for referencing Trump by suggesting that not caring about clean air or water is correlated to the fight against cancer.

"Billions and billions of dollars comes from taxpayers", Biden told the SXSW crowd, Business Insider reported. In December, the Senate passed and President Obama signed a $6.3 billion bill to fund drug treatment research. He vowed to work with Trump to ensure cancer research remains a top priority. "It is my hope that this new administration, once it gets organized-and I'm not being facetious-will be able to focus on and be as committed and enthusiastic as we were in the goal of ending cancer as we know it". "His commitment and leadership is crucial at a time when the smartest minds from the worlds of technology and healthcare are working together to create groundbreaking new solutions in the battle to end cancer".

While his talk was largely apolitical, politics were referenced - though through the prism of fighting cancer and other diseases.

His voice rising, Biden ended his speech by once again calling the audience to invest their knowledge and creativity in work that can help cancer research: "I am unwilling to postpone for one day longer the things we can do now to extend people's life and so should you".