Obama puts Biden in 'mission control' of new push to cure cancer

State of the Union: Obama Announces Cancer 'Moon Shot'
State of the Union: Obama Announces Cancer 'Moon Shot'

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama tasked Vice President Biden to run "mission control" on a very personal mission for him: A "moonshot" to cure cancer, which killed Biden's son, Beau, earlier this year.

"Last year, Vice President Biden said that with a new moonshot, America can cure cancer. Last month, he worked with this Congress to give scientists at the National Institutes of Health the strongest resources they've had in over a decade," Obama said to a bipartisan standing ovation, one of the strongest of the night.

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"Tonight, I'm announcing a new national effort to get it done. And because he's gone to the mat for all of us on so many issues over the past forty years, I'm putting Joe in charge of Mission Control. For the loved ones we've all lost, for the family we can still save, let's make America the country that cures cancer once and for all," he said to another rousing cheer.

Click through images from Obama's final State of the Union:

Biden's elder son Beau, the former attorney general of Delaware, died last spring after a long battle with brain cancer. The death rattled him and his family, and kept him on the sidelines in the 2016 presidential race. When he announced last fall that he wouldn't run for his boss's job, Biden promised to dedicate his life to fighting the disease that took his son.

"And the goal of this initiative is simple — to double the rate of progress. To make a decade worth of advances in five years."

Biden wasn't exactly caught by surprise by Obama's State of the Union request. As the president took the stage, the White House released remarks from Biden promising to undertake the challenge.

"It's personal for me. But it's also personal for nearly every American, and millions of people around the world. We all know someone who has had cancer, or is fighting to beat it. They're our family, friends, and co-workers," Biden says in the post.

"Over the next year, I will lead a dedicated, combined effort by governments, private industry, researchers, physicians, patients, and philanthropies to target investment, coordinate across silos, and increase access to information for everyone in the cancer community."

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