During Joe Biden’s first address to a socially-distanced and masked Congress on Wednesday evening, he included one particularly noteworthy goal: to end cancer.
We have a purpose to develop breakthroughs, to prevent, protect, and treat diseases like Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and cancer. I will never forget when we passed the cancer proposal in the last year I was vice president. Almost $9 million going to NIH, and if you will forgive my personal — the name of my deceased son. It meant a lot. But so many of us have deceased sons, daughters, relatives who died of cancer. I could think of no more worthy investments, I know of nothing that is more bipartisan. So let’s end cancer as we know it. It is within our power to do it.
Known as the “Cancer Moonshot,” the initiative Biden referenced had three goals: “to accelerate scientific discovery in cancer, foster greater collaboration, and improve the sharing of data,” with Congress passing the 21st Century Cures Act in December 2016, “authorizing $1.8 billion in funding for the Cancer Moonshot over 7 years.”
While the call to end cancer is undeniably worthwhile — especially since the vast majority of people have a friend or relative who has had cancer or passed away from the disease — Biden’s promise to “end cancer as we know it” is both naive and cynically simplistic.
The reason for this is based entirely on his proposed solution: to throw more money at the problem.
After all, the continuation of the 2016 “Cancer Moonshot” was one of many financially-based promises made by Biden on Wednesday evening. However, money is simply not the bottleneck regarding the discovery of a “cure” for cancer.
As Dr. Margaret Cuomo — the sister of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo — wrote in her book, “A World Without Cancer,” the implied lack of “investment” is not the problem.
“More than 40 years after the war on cancer was declared, we have spent billions fighting the good fight. The National Cancer Institute has spent some $90 billion on research and treatment during that time. Some 260 nonprofit organizations in the United States have dedicated themselves to cancer — more than the number established for heart disease, AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, and stroke combined. Together, these 260 organizations have budgets that top $2.2 billion,” wrote Cuomo.
Biden’s over-simplification also ignores the complexity of the battle against cancer.
“Cancer is as individual as the person who has it,” explained Joyce Ohm, PhD, Department of Cancer Genetics and Genomics at Roswell Park.
We should all support the general effort to banish cancer from our society. However, using the damage cancer has caused — and will continue to cause — to justify Biden doing nothing but signing yet another blank check to fund government programs with little history of success would be a foolish mistake.
Ian Haworth is an Editor and Writer for The Daily Wire. Follow him on Twitter at @ighaworth.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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