AACR Will Build on Productive Relationship With President Biden to Advance Cancer Research

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and its 47,000 member scientists and physicians are unified in a strong desire to work with President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Congress to accelerate progress against cancer.  

“The AACR has an enormous amount of admiration and respect for President Biden,” said Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc), chief executive officer of the AACR, in a recent press release. “President Biden’s personal dedication to reducing cancer incidence, morbidity, and mortality, both as Vice President and later through the Biden Cancer Initiative, has accelerated research that has led to important advances for patients. We look forward to working closely with the new administration to ensure that this lifesaving progress continues for all who are touched by cancer.” 

President Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, have spoken at several AACR events in recent years. A look back at their remarks underscores the fact that, despite steady progress, there is still much more work to be done if we are to ensure that progress against cancer benefits everyone, including the underserved populations of our country.  

As Vice President, Joe Biden spoke during the Closing Plenary Session at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2016 in New Orleans. Photo by
© AACR/Todd Buchanan 2016

At the AACR Annual Meeting 2016 in New Orleans, then-Vice President Biden discussed the need for collaboration between industry and academia, and he applauded the tireless efforts of cancer researchers. “We are on the cusp of breakthroughs that will save lives, benefit all of humanity. But we have to work together,” he told thousands of attendees.  
Biden’s appearance at the Annual Meeting in April 2016 was the culmination of several months during which AACR leaders had helped shape Biden’s efforts against cancer. In January 2016, Biden’s office had called upon AACR members to discuss the most pressing issues in cancer research as the White House prepared to announce the National Cancer Moonshot initiative. Shortly after the announcement, Biden convened international cancer research leaders, including several AACR Past Presidents, to discuss cancer research and treatment at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. On April 4, the National Cancer Institute announced the members of a Blue Ribbon Panel that would help determine the scientific direction and goals of the Moonshot initiative. That 28-member panel included 20 members of the AACR, including two Past Presidents, three Fellows of the AACR Academy, and three members of the Board of Directors. 

In April 2017, under a vastly different political landscape, Biden returned to the AACR Annual Meeting held that year in Washington, D.C. Biden vowed that he would continue to fight for robust federal funding for medical research, and he urged researchers and advocates in the audience to continue their dedicated efforts to conquer cancer.  

“You’re an incredible national resource. So let’s keep it going, folks. This is no time to stop the momentum,” Biden told the crowd.  


And then in September 2018, Dr. Jill Biden delivered the keynote address at Progress and Promise Against Cancer, a public event hosted by the AACR and WHYY, Philadelphia’s public radio and television station. The summit was part of a national day of programming supported by the Biden Cancer Initiative, with an anchor event in Washington, D.C., and approximately 450 events throughout the United States.  

At the Philadelphia event, she discussed how Beau Biden’s death had forced her and now-President Biden to understand the urgent need for more progress against cancer.  

“For the researchers, thank you for the work you do every single day. To the patients and the survivors, thank you for your courage and hope. Joe and I are with you every day,” she said. “Together, we will fight for the most precious thing we have: time.” 

Today, we face a new challenge, with the COVID-19 pandemic threatening public health and reshaping many aspects of medical research. Cancer researchers have contributed collective scientific and clinical knowledge to the fight against COVID-19, and stand ready to assist the new science-driven administration. The AACR’s mission to prevent and cure all cancers remains steadfast, and we look forward to working with the Biden administration to achieve this goal at the earliest possible time.  

Jill Biden podium
Dr. Jill Biden delivered the keynote address at Progress and Promise Against Cancer, a public event hosted by the AACR and WHYY in September 2018.