AACR Annual Meeting 2019: The Biden Cancer Initiative

Like many Americans, Dr. Jill Biden has been personally affected by cancer. Friends, her parents, and her son Beau have all died of the disease, fueling her desire to fight for better treatments.

She and her husband, former Vice President Joe Biden, established the Biden Cancer Initiative to build upon the work begun as part of the Cancer Moonshot Initiative in 2016. Dr. Biden attended the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2019 on Sunday to share some of the progress that has been made, and to discuss how collaboration will be important in securing future progress.

Dr. Biden talked about how cancer, a disease that comes in more than 200 types, often changes and becomes resistant to treatments, sending patients and their families down frustrating paths as they battle the disease.

“For all its many faces and forms, some things are constant: The fear it inspires, the financial toxicities, the pain, and cruelest of all, the time it steals,” she said.

Biden also pointed out that some of the advances that have reduced cancer mortality have not been shared by all segments of the population.

“Progress is uneven and rural, black, Latino, and Native American populations see far worse outcomes,” she said. “Poverty draws a line between surviving and succumbing to this disease. It doesn’t have to be this way. We have to put a stop to these disparities.”

Cancer health disparities will be a focus of numerous sessions at the Annual Meeting. For continuing coverage, keep reading Cancer Research Catalyst and follow the Annual Meeting on Twitter: #AACR19.

AACR President Elizabeth M. Jaffee, MD, and Dr. Jill Biden. Photo by Scott Morgan, Scott Morgan Photography LLC.