Vice President Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenTrump: 'You know what I am? I'm a nationalist' Biden jokes about Obama memes: 'Barack did the first friendship bracelet, not me' 'Broad City' stars urge Clinton not to run again MORE’s recent declaration that “we need a moonshot in this country to cure cancer” is welcome news for all Americans, and our organization – which represents 11 dedicated cancer centers that exclusively treat cancer patients – is poised to work with him on this critically important venture.

It’s hard to overstate the devastating impact cancer has on Americans. According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), an estimated 1,658,370 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the United States this year and 589,430 people will die from the disease. The NCI says that nearly 40 percent of men and women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point during their lifetimes.


Referring to the May death from brain cancer of his son, Beau, Biden said, “It’s personal.  But I know we can do this. . . .there are so many breakthroughs just on the horizon in science and medicine. . . .we can make them real with an absolute national commitment to end cancer as we know it today.  

“And I’m going to spend the next 15 months in this office pushing as hard as I can to accomplish this.  Because I know there are Democrats and Republicans on the Hill who share our passion – our passion to silence this deadly disease.  If I could be anything, I would want it to be the President that ended cancer, because it’s possible.”

The vice president, whose comments came as he made it clear he will not enter the presidential race, is right to be optimistic about the possibilities of curing cancer. While a cancer diagnosis was once considered a death sentence, much progress has been made since President Nixon, declaring a war on cancer, signed into law the National Cancer Act of 1971. Now, says the NCI, the number of people living beyond a cancer diagnosis reached nearly 14.5 million in 2014 and is expected to rise to almost 19 million by 2024.

Later in the week, in a 60 Minutes interview, he added, “It's personal, I acknowledge. But, you know, cancer affects every single family. And, you know, one of the great advantages and an advantage I had it's – of being vice president, I had access to the finest people in the world. And I am confident if we make the decision John Kennedy made of going to the moon, and we said, ‘We are going to cure cancer,’ within the next several years we can do that. That's how close it is.”

The 11 cancer centers that make up our organization, the Alliance of Dedicated Cancer Centers (ADCC),  serve as an invaluable national and international resource in advancing the nation’s and the world’s understanding of the causes, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer. Unlike other hospitals, Dedicated Cancer Centers exclusively treat cancer patients, and our state-of-the-art therapies and research activities often offer the greatest possibility for successful cancer treatment.

Dedicated cancer centers are the engine driving the changes and breakthroughs in this country’s cancer care treatments. Just a few decades ago, breast and prostate cancer diagnoses were a virtual death sentence. But based on out treatment discoveries, they are now largely chronic diseases.

Our singular focus on cancer means that our researchers take insights from the lab and test them with the clinical and research experts just down the hall. This leads to the development of new treatments that will be the standard of care in community practices several years from now. Because access to the latest care means access to the latest cures, we have long advocated for full access to our centers.

We are hardly alone in attacking the scourge of cancer. National Cancer Institute-designated centers  and many others are all together in this war. And it will take us all to be successful.

President Kennedy’s 1961 then-startling call for putting a man on the moon, subsequently backed by congressional funding to carry out that quest, succeeded just eight years later. We salute Vice President Biden for his determination to have our nation cure cancer, and stand ready– along with others – to do all we can to help achieve that vitally important goal. 

Bird is the executive director of the Alliance of Dedicated Cancer Centers (ADCC).