Published: Tue, March 14, 2017
U.S. | By Vera Richards

At SXSW, Joe Biden asks the tech community for help fighting cancer

At SXSW, Joe Biden asks the tech community for help fighting cancer

That was the message from former US Vice President Joe Biden, speaking Sunday at SXSW about the White House Cancer Moonshot program that he got rolling in early 2016.

Biden devoted most of his address to the strides made in his "cancer moonshot, " which was launched early previous year.

"If we change that, we'll change cancer", he said.

"Your government, that many of you don't like, is the vehicle for how much of this gets funded, by and large". But you could make a huge impact. We need your ingenuity.

But the tone took a serious turn as Biden credited the death of his son, "my Beau" Biden, who died at 46 years old almost two years ago due to brain cancer, as the reason behind his anticancer crusade.

Throughout his one-hour speech, Biden laid out a vision for the future, where patients received the right treatment without harmful side effects and children were vaccinated against certain kinds of cancers.

Now, two months after ending his two terms as VP, Biden is at the helm of another cancer-fighting organization, the Biden Foundation, which he and Jill Biden launched on February 1 to support public service initiatives like ending violence against women and protecting children, in addition to finding a cure to the deadly illness. Since June, the database has added 16,000 additional patients that can be examined by "anyone who wants access to it", he said. "Only together can we seize the moment to defeat cancer", Jill Biden said. Last year, for instance, Napster founder Sean Parker donated $250 million to create a research institute that will focus on cancer and immunotherapy.

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"I am unwilling to postpone for one day longer the things we can do now to extend peoples lives and so should you be", said Biden. "The only bipartisan thing left in America is the fight against cancer.Your generation can be the first generation on earth that goes through life with a completely different understanding of cancer as preventable - a controllable disease, rather than a death sentence", Biden said.

"We're excited to have Vice President Biden address the creative innovators and entrepreneurs that attend SXSW", said the festival's chief programming officer, Hugh Forrest.

Vice President Joe Biden's Cancer Moonshot is a personal mission, one he's forging ahead with after leaving office.

He continued on his theme as an entreaty to the creative minds attending the annual, massive conference: "Many of you are developing technologies and innovations for purposes large and small, fun and serious, entertaining and lifesaving, that have nothing to do with cancer - but you could make a huge impact", Biden continued.

Biden said he would do everything in his power to make the Trump administration continue the fight against cancer.

Biden reminded people that the bulk of funding for research comes from taxpayers. "We can make an enormous, enormous, enormous progress". His only regret, he recalled telling reporters in the White House Rose Garden at the time: "I would have loved to have been the president to preside over the end of cancer as we know it".

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