Can the U.S. Really Cure Cancer?

Email a Friend
In his final State of the Union address, President Obama announced a new cancer research initiative to be led by Vice President Biden. Is America up to the task?
From and

Click on the audio player above to hear this interview.

In his final State of the Union address this week, President Obama announced a new "moonshot" for cancer research.

"Tonight, I’m announcing a new national effort to get it done," the president told a joint session of Congress. "And because he’s gone to the mat for all of us on so many issues over the past 40 years, I’m putting [Vice President] Joe [Biden] in charge of mission control. For the loved ones we’ve all lost, for the families that we can still save, let’s make America the country that cures cancer once and for all."

In a post on Medium, Vice President Biden described two "moonshot" goals: To increase resources and funding for cancer research and treatment, and to encourage collaboration, to "break down silos and bring all the cancer fighters together — to work together, share information, and end cancer as we know it."

Dr. Harold Varmus, researcher at Weill Cornell Medical College and former director of the National Cancer Institute, understands the potential impact new funding and collaborations—as well as the challenge of meeting the high expectations the president described in his speech. 

What you'll learn from this segment:

  • What does this cancer "moonshot" may actually look like.
  • What President Obama really means mean by "cure."
  • The biggest challenges facing cancer researchers today.