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When Vice President Joe Biden announced last month that he was not going to seek the presidential nomination for the Democratic Party, he stated that he wanted his legacy to lie in another direction altogether. Specifically, he stated that he would much rather spend his time pursuing a “moon shot” to cure cancer.

The phrase “moon shot” is not one that’s often used today, but anyone who remembers the American space program in the 1950s and 60s will recognize the phrase. In short, it refers to the massive national attention and funding that went into putting people on the moon – an effort which lead to the eventual moon landing of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.

The use of “moon shot” in relation to cancer was no doubt intentional by Biden. It consciously invokes a sense of common purpose and achievement that the space program did in the middle of last century. By using that term, Biden is stating that that same common purpose should be given to finding a cure for cancer.

The Potential of Increased Funding

After his announcement, Biden was widely quoted as saying:

The president and I have already been working hard on increasing funding for research and development because there are so many breakthroughs just on the horizon in science and medicine…. I’m going to spend the next 15 months in this office pushing as hard as I can to accomplish this, because I know there are Democrats and Republicans on the Hill who share our passion—our passion to silence this deadly disease.

Day after day we hear news of new drugs, procedures and experimental treatments that are being used to fight mesothelioma and deadly cancers. Given the progress that doctors, researchers and patients are making with the current levels of funding, it only stands to reason that increasing the amount we are currently spending could lead to even greater levels of achievement and find even more effective treatments – and possibly even cures!

Since we’re shooting for the moon, so to speak, let’s imagine what doubling the current levels of cancer funding at all levels could do. In short, doubling federal funding for cancer research would:

  • Encourage more doctors, universities, research centers, patients and others to dedicate their time, intelligence and other resources to this important area of study.
  • Bring more promising and effective drugs and procedures to agencies like the FDA for use at every level, from clinical trials to full prescription approval.
  • Broaden awareness of the deadly nature of various types of cancer that are lesser known, including but not limited to mesothelioma.

As more effective treatments are developed, and as the potential for a cure becomes more of a possibility, not only will the lives of people who have cancer improve dramatically, but so will the lives of the friends and loved ones around them.

A Cure Is Not a Sure Thing

Ultimately, we can’t say for sure that increasing federal funding will absolutely lead to a cure. However, if we can put the full weight and wealth of our nation behind us like we did with the space program, then who knows what could happen.

The sky’s the limit.