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Vice President Biden Visits Utah to Discuss Cancer Moonshot

Andrea Smardon
Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman Jr., Vice President Joe Biden, Huntsman Cancer Institute CEO Mary Beckerle, and Utah Senator Orrin Hatch

Vice President Joe Biden visited the Huntsman Cancer Institute Friday to talk about Utah’s role in the national “moonshot” initiative to eliminate cancer as we know it.

This month, the White House announced a $1 billion initiative to accelerate the development of new cancer detection methods and treatments. Vice President Joe Biden told a crowd of community leaders and researchers at the Huntsman Cancer Institute that Utah is playing an important role.

“Just in the last five to six years, we’ve seen incredible breakthroughs in science because of the brilliant women and men sitting around this table,” Biden said. “It’s all, in my view, brought us to an inflection point, and offers hope that didn’t even exist 15 years ago or even 10 years ago.”

Biden recognized the Utah Population Database and advances in precision medicine as a model of what could be achieved around the country. But he said, one of the biggest obstacles is that data is trapped in institutions, and he asked for help in unlocking that data.

“For the first time, we can see what the ultimate solution is going to look like, but whether we can get there in 10 or 50 years depends upon how quickly we put all these pieces together and in my view break down some of the silos,” he said.

Biden, whose son died of brain cancer, told the crowd that thousands of lives could be saved if researchers can figure out how to work together for faster and better results. Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman Junior said the entire community is behind The White House in its quest to find a cure for cancer.

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