Joe Biden may resurface a long-held dream: a White House laser-focused on cancer

Lev Facher in The New York Times:

WASHINGTON — Barely five months after his son’s death from brain cancer, a bereaved Vice President Joe Biden announced to the nation he would not run for president in 2016 — and immediately pinpointed his deepest regret. “If I could be anything, I would have wanted to be the president that ended cancer,” he said in a Rose Garden address in October 2015. “Because it’s possible.” Biden’s announcement that he will run for president in 2020, however, has resurfaced his dream: a White House that makes cancer a signature issue, backed by a politician whose life was so publicly upended by the disease. With much of the early debate in the Democratic primary centering on health care, Biden’s stint as cancer-advocate-in-chief and orchestrator of the Obama administration’s “cancer moonshot” could give him the opportunity to make the disease, its treatments, and his own grief central to the presidential election.

After leaving office, Biden structured his cancer-fighting efforts in a way that could suit a possible campaign. The Biden Cancer Initiative — the pillar of Biden’s policy work since leaving office — raised $10 million in the year following its incorporation. The nonprofit did not accept contributions from pharmaceutical companies, in an effort both to preserve independence and avoid the political pitfalls associated with an increasingly vilified drug industry. The Bidens have fostered collaboration between stakeholders “at the foundation level, the patient advocacy level, the scientific level, and the government level,” said Dr. Elizabeth Jaffee, a Johns Hopkins researcher who sits on the Biden Cancer Initiative’s board.

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