Today, we’re marking a major milestone in the fight to end cancer as we know it.
Last year, I worked with Democrats and Republicans in Congress to launch and fund the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) to fundamentally transform how we prevent, detect, and treat cancer and other diseases. Today, ARPA-H is delivering on that goal with its first program directly funding innovation in the treatment of cancer.
As surgical oncologists know, removing cancer can be incredibly challenging. Determining how exactly to operate to excise all cancerous cells, while saving healthy cells and protecting critical organs, nerves, and blood vessels, is a huge challenge. In some cases, the surgical team can’t safely perform the procedure. Still, despite many innovations in treating cancer, surgery is often the first best step. Researchers and innovators across the country are pioneering new techniques and technologies to make cancer removal surgeries more precise, accurate, and achievable. It’s an exciting horizon in cancer research and development that could save and extend many lives. Now, through ARPA-H, we will fund promising new approaches to removing cancer surgically.
Harnessing the power of innovation is essential to achieving our ambitious goal of turning more cancers from death sentences to treatable diseases and – in time – cutting the cancer death rate in half. As we’ve seen throughout our history, from developing vaccines to sequencing the genome, when the U.S. government invests in innovation, we can achieve breakthroughs that would otherwise be impossible, and save lives on a vast scale. ARPA-H follows in that tradition of bold, urgent innovation.
Cancer has touched nearly every family in America, including ours. That’s why Jill and I believe so deeply in the Cancer Moonshot, which will be transformational for people across the country and around the world. That’s why it’s a central component of my Unity Agenda, which aims to bring people from both parties together to get big things done for the American people. We have made real progress across that agenda, from tackling the mental health crisis to supporting our veterans to fighting the opioid and overdose epidemic. Together, we are also moving toward a world where cancer loses its power. That’s a goal worthy of our great nation.