From: Sapatkin, Don
Sent: Friday, January 15, 2016 6:59 PM
To: Goodman, Meghan K. EOP/OVP
Subject: VPOTUS pool report - Biden moonshot at Penn
Print pool report for Biden's visit to Penn, from about 4:10-5:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 15.
PHILADELPHIA - Vice President Biden met with scientists at the University of Pennsylvania’s Abramson Cancer Center Friday afternoon, officially launching his “moonshot’’ quest to cure cancer.
"We're on the cusp of phenomenal breakthroughs," Biden said, adding that President Obama would be issuing an executive order that would get every federal agency involved.
Biden asked the researchers to educate him on the challenges and possibilities of following through on genome-based discoveries of the past several years, particularly a type of immunotherapy that has been pioneered by Penn researcher Carl H. June.
Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health who sat next to Biden in a room packed with researchers and news media, said immunotherapy may be the area that holds "the most remarkable promise." He described June's enormously complex process as "taking immune cells and educating them."
Biden's mission was announced by President Obama during the State of the Union address Tuesday night.
Biden told the scientists that he was "not naive" about the likelihood of finding cures quickly, and that he wanted to accelerate progress. He also asked about the difficulties of sharing data and other obstacles that have frustrated scientists.
Biden's son, former Delaware Attorney General Joseph R. “Beau” Biden III, died of brain cancer eight months ago, and the vice president has been gathering ideas from researchers and organizations around the country.
He arrived at a short meeting with June before the roundtable conversation accompanied by family - granddaughter Naomi Biden and son in law Howard Krein.
Afterward, Biden told the full gathering that he has been "stunned" at the worldwide response to his mission. "I plan on doing this the rest of my life," he said, drawing applause.
Public health reporter /
Deputy health & science editor
The Philadelphia Inquirer