WASHINGTON — Hillary Clinton endorsed the Obama administration’s cancer moonshot initiative on Monday and pledged to continue its work if she is elected president.
The announcement preceded a campaign event that Clinton is holding with Vice President Joe Biden, who has led the effort after the death of his son Beau of brain cancer in 2015.
“As president, I will take up the charge. My administration will carry out the mission the Vice President has set,” Clinton said in a statement. “Together, we will seize this moment. Together, we will make cancer as we know it a disease of the past.”
She also hinted at the rally in Scranton, Pa., that Biden could remain involved. “If I’m elected president this fall, I’m going to ask Joe to continue the important work he’s begun and help us fight and defeat cancer,” Clinton said.
In her statement, the Democratic nominee urged Congress to approve the White House’s billion-dollar funding request for the moonshot and promised to continue the work to encourage cooperation among cancer researchers, another centerpiece of the initiative. She praised the “unprecedented collaboration” between federal agencies, industry, and researchers that she said Biden had fostered.
“Simply put, if we make the right investments today, we can save lives,” she said.
The announcement adds another plank to Clinton’s medical-science platform. She has also released specific proposals for Alzheimer’s and autism research. Last year on the campaign trail, she had endorsed the National Breast Cancer Coalition’s goal of ending that disease by 2020.
The Obama administration’s self-stated goal for the moonshot is to achieve 10 years’ worth of progress in cancer research in five years’ time.
“By combining new funding with creative approaches,” Clinton said, “we will not only catalyze progress against cancer: We will strengthen the nation’s entire scientific enterprise.”
Lobbyists and researchers following the moonshot have long said it would need to extend beyond the Obama administration to have any hope of achieving its goals.
One lobbyist, who requested anonymity to speak candidly, told STAT earlier this summer that the biomedical industry and cancer researchers still needed to be convinced “that it’s not window dressing, that it’s a real attempt to make meaningful changes and differences in the way research is conducted.”
Under a new administration, “if that kind of momentum can be sustained, that’s where we can make some real progress here,” the lobbyist said.