Editor’s Note: “For the loved ones we’ve all lost, for the family we can still save, let’s make America the country that cures cancer once and for all,” President Obama said during last night’s State of the Union address as he announced the start of an important initiative to end cancer. These historic words are game changing for the cancer research, survivor, and patient communities, and the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is committed to working alongside Vice President Biden as he leads this effort to make faster progress against cancer. AACR spokespeople were featured in several top tier media outlets last night and this morning (including USA TODAY, The Washington Post, Stat, Stat First Opinion, Politico, and NBCNews.com) declaring the organization’s support for this endeavor.
Below is the AACR news release reacting to the State of the Union announcement:
The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) applauds and commends President Obama and Vice President Biden for their dedication in the fight against cancer discussed during tonight’s State of the Union address.
The AACR looks forward to working with the administration and Congress to make faster progress against cancer so that we might achieve the goal that Vice President Biden outlined during his speech in the Rose Garden Oct. 21, 2015, specifically that now is the time to make an “absolute national commitment to end cancer as we know it today.”
“We have indeed reached an inflection point, where the number of discoveries that are being made at such an accelerated pace are saving lives and bringing enormous hope for cancer patients, even those with advanced disease,” said AACR President José Baselga, MD, PhD, physician-in-chief and chief medical officer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. “Now is the time for a major new initiative in cancer science that supports and builds upon our basic science foundation while translating these exciting scientific discoveries into improved treatments for cancer patients, such as in the areas of genomics, precision medicine, and immuno-oncology. Tonight’s State of the Union address underscores the importance of collaborations if we are to achieve the vision that President Obama has outlined.”
To that end, on Jan. 8, a group of 15 AACR members, led by Baselga and comprising a number of AACR Board Members, and other AACR leaders from nine states and 10 of the top cancer centers and medical institutions in the U.S., met with Vice President Biden’s senior staff to discuss the state of cancer research, as well as Vice President Biden’s commitment to leading in this important issue.
As the world’s first and largest scientific organization committed to preventing and curing all cancers through innovative research, education, communication, and collaboration, the AACR and its 39,000 members are unified in their interest of working alongside President Obama, Vice President Biden, and Congress to end cancer.
“The AACR has consistently advocated for robust, sustained, and predictable funding increases for the NIH and NCI, as well as for science-based, patient-centered cancer science and public policies that will make quantum leaps forward toward improving the health of all Americans,” said Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc), chief executive officer of the AACR.
“There are 14.5 million cancer survivors who are alive today because of cancer research, and tonight’s announcement has the potential to dramatically increase this number,” said Dr. Foti. “The AACR also wishes to thank all of the dedicated patient advocates for their vital role in providing the patient perspective on cancer and for emphasizing to the general public the opportunities in cancer research that are before us today.”
The AACR has played and continues to play a pivotal role in the national dialogue in the quest to cure and prevent cancer in partnership with the administration, Congress, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
“In a hopeful era, we need hopeful leaders, so we applaud the President and Vice President’s commitment to change the face of cancer as we know it,” Douglas R. Lowy, MD, acting director of the National Cancer Institute. “Thanks to many years of work by dedicated cancer researchers, we have, within our reach, real opportunities to prevent, successfully treat, or even eliminate many forms of cancer in adults and children. The National Cancer Institute stands ready to realize the administration’s efforts, support the American Association for Cancer Research and other cancer leaders, and change the future for all affected by cancer.”
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