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Obama Announces $1 Billion For 'Moonshot' Plan To Combat Cancer

Update Date: Feb 03, 2016 08:47 AM EST
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Over the next couple of years, President Barack Obama is planning to spend $1 billion with the aim to cure cancer, the White House revealed Monday.

The research will spark research, help to develop vaccines, improve early detection techniques, examine immunotherapy and analyze the genetic composition of tumors, reports USA Today.

While a large portion of the funds will be poured into The National Institutes of Health, some of it will go in for the Food and Drug Administration, Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs.

In his 2016 State of the Union address, the President announced his ambitious plan, explaining that he wanted to bank on Vice President Joe Biden, who had recently lost his son to the illness to lead the Cancer Moonshot Task Force.

This year, about $195 million is thought to be expended by The National Institutes of Health. These were funds approved by Congress in its budget the previous year.

In his 2017 budget proposal, Obama is seeking to ask lawmakers to approve an additional $755 million. It will be released on Feb. 9, according to The Associated Press. The president also wants to give Biden control over a special fund for "high-risk, high-return research."

However, the efforts might not lead to any significant or immediate discoveries, said White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest.

"That's why I think the 'moonshot' analogy that the president has drawn here is appropriate. It was President Kennedy who laid out this goal, but the goal was not realized in the Kennedy presidency," Earnest said. "What he did was he set an ambitious vision and began to orient the federal government in the direction of accomplishing this goal, and the results were realized a number of years later, but sooner than anybody thought. And we're hoping for a similar outcome when it comes to fighting cancer."

Last Monday, the president and vice president, different health, and scientific agencies and the Pentagon sat together to begin the cancer task force, said the government. Biden explained to the officials that the task force will "take a whole-of-government approach" and go into a decade of research in five years. He is hoping that the force can "clear out the bureaucratic hurdles - and let science happen."

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