Under the Dome

Biden headed to Duke to discuss cancer, tour labs

Vice President Joe Biden gestures during a news conference in a file photo taken Jan. 23, 2016, in Turkey.
Vice President Joe Biden gestures during a news conference in a file photo taken Jan. 23, 2016, in Turkey. AFP/Getty Images

Vice President Joe Biden will tour two labs at the Duke Cancer Institute Wednesday as part of a push to speed up cancer research.

Biden will meet with oncologists, public health researchers and patient groups during a roundtable discussion at Duke. He’ll also tour two labs, one focused on DNA repair that has implications for cancer, and one focused on the use of polio virus to treat brain tumors.

The visit to Durham is part of Biden’s work on the “cancer moonshot” to ultimately cure the disease. In the State of the Union address, President Barack Obama announced that Biden would lead a federal task force on the initiative.

The time is right, said Don Graves, deputy assistant to the president and counselor to the vice president.

“The goal of the moonshot is really to make a decade’s worth of advances in five years and put us on a path to end cancer as we know it,” Graves said in a conference call with reporters Tuesday. “The vice president believes pretty strongly that we’re at an inflection point for cancer research and that the science is ready.”

An additional $195 million will be spent on cancer programs and research in the current fiscal year, and Obama’s budget for 2017 proposes another $755 million go to the effort.

Duke is one of 69 comprehensive cancer centers focused on research and treatment of cancer in the United States, Graves said.

Biden lost his son, Beau, to brain cancer last year.

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