Biden names head of moonshot task force for cancer cure

Biden names head of moonshot task force for cancer cure
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Vice President Biden on Friday announced an executive director for his Cancer Moonshot Task Force as he pushes to speed up the search for a cure.

Biden appointed Greg Simon as the executive director. Simon co-founded the group Faster Cures in 2003, which pushes for collaboration and speeding up research around serious diseases. 

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Simon also has experience in the pharmaceutical industry, as a senior vice president of Pfizer from 2009 to 2012. 

He is not a political newcomer either, having served as an adviser to former Vice President Al GoreAl GoreDem Murphy wins New Jersey governor's race CNN to air sexual harassment Town Hall featuring Gretchen Carlson, Anita Hill GOP gov hopeful veers to right in New Jersey MORE in the 1990s. 

Simon himself was recently successfully treated for cancer, adding a personal element. 

“As a recent cancer patient myself, I am especially humbled that Vice President Biden has given me the chance through this initiative to help cancer patients all over the world have the successful care and treatments that I received,” Simon said. 

Biden added in a statement: “With his amazing breadth of experience, both in the public and private sector, he will be bring an invaluable knowledge of the healthcare landscape to the Task Force.”

The cancer moonshot effort is looking to speed up cancer research and improve collaboration so as to achieve 10 years’ worth of breakthroughs in five years. 

There is still a question of funding, though. The initiative began with the modest sum of $195 million, but more funding is possible through a medical innovation bill now being negotiated in the Senate. 

Biden met on Wednesday with lawmakers in both parties who are in the process of negotiating the bill, though the question looms of how to pay for the new funding for research at the National Institutes of Health.