Cancer, like many other diseases, doesn’t exist within the geographic borders of any single country. Its burden is felt around the world and that burden is growing in many countries. According to the most recent estimates, worldwide, there were approximately 14 million new cancer cases in 2012. And that number is expected to swell by an additional 10 million cases over the next two decades.
In April, while speaking alongside Pope Francis at a Vatican event, Vice President Biden stressed the role that biomedical research can, and must, play in addressing the impact of cancer and other diseases on global health.
“We stand on the cusp of unprecedented scientific and technological changes that were once unimaginable breakthroughs,” he said. “But we cannot forget that real lives and real people are at the heart of and the reason for all that we do.”
On that day, the Vice President called on the international community to build on the momentum of the Cancer Moonshot effort, asking leaders from across the globe to commit to making renewed and focused investments in cancer research, including increasing patient access to the latest treatment opportunities provided through research studies and increasing researchers’ access to patient data.
Earlier this week, in conjunction with the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, we took concrete steps toward establishing international collaborations that can help bring us closer to achieving this goal.
Taking Advantage of Unparalleled Opportunities
National investment in biomedical research and advanced technologies has created an unparalleled opportunity to rapidly increase our understanding of this collection of disease we call cancer and, importantly, develop innovative ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat them.
By expanding outreach and finding new and innovative ways to take advantage of relationships that span borders—among researchers, industry, governmental and non-governmental health organizations—it is possible to accelerate progress in a way that, at one time, many might have considered to be impossible.
In doing so, we can continue to transform how we think about cancer, approaching it not as something to be feared, but something we understand well and know how to prevent and treat effectively—not just in wealthier nations, but in all nations.