This past week, Vice President Joe Biden stopped by the Late Show with Stephen Colbert and talked about progress made with the Cancer Moonshot Initiative over the last year. Talking personally about his own family’s connection to the cancer crisis, Vice President Biden quickly turned to the power of big data to change what we know about cancer.
Pointing out that hundreds of thousands of genomes have been sequenced, Biden specifically noted the power of big data and its ability to make tremendous progress in expediting the search for a cancer cure. He particularly noted the strategic partnerships efforts by the VA, the largest hospital system in the world, to work with private entities to expand the knowledge base around cancer. Earlier this year as a part of VA’s Cancer Moonshot commitments, VA collaborated with IBM Watson on a precision medicine program to bring top tier access to innovative genomic treatment options to cancer patients within the VA. Over the next two years, the VA hopes to treat 10,000 American Veterans with targeted cancer therapies.
“The biggest thing [will be] changing the culture of sharing data and sharing information,” Biden said. “We’re beginning to break down these silos and barriers and I think we’re going to make enormous progress.”
Just two weeks ago, VA convened more than 200 cancer experts with that same focused goal – to foster collaborative partnerships to advance cancer cures. Launch Pad: Pathways to Cancer InnoVAtion celebrated VA strategic partnership efforts supporting the Cancer Moonshot Initiative, and propelled the discussion into the future, with two new partnership announcements with the Prostate Cancer Foundation and Stanford University.
“For an area like cancer research, strategic partnerships are a force multiplier,” said Matthew S. Collier, senior advisor to the secretary for strategic partnerships. “The work we can do together far outweighs the work we do individually. With the VA’s position as the largest medical research institution in the country, the discoveries made to improve cancer care for Veterans will go on to advance the national public health landscape with regards to cancer care for all Americans.”