SALT LAKE CITY – Vice President Joe Biden visited the Beehive State Friday to tour the Huntsman Cancer Institute. He is spearheading efforts by the White House to develop a new billion dollar cancer research initiative.
“Anyone with cancer knows how much time matters," Biden said. "It matters a great deal. Just in the last five to six years, we’ve seen incredible breakthroughs in science."
Biden’s personal connection with cancer drives his determination to find a cure. He lost his son Beau to cancer last year.
“I’ve met with over 200 of the leading oncologists and researchers in the world, several Nobel Laureates," he said. "I’ve been to a number of great institutions like yours."
Friday, his attention was on the world-renowned Huntsman Cancer Institute. He took a tour with some long-time friends, former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman Jr. and Senator Orrin Hatch.
Afterward, he sat down with experts, praising them for the strides they’re making--particularly when it comes to their vast database of genetic and medical information.
“If this could be a model that would be replicated throughout the country and the world, I honest to God believe that we would make exponential progress,” Biden said.
The key is better collaboration so all advances get to the people who need it most, but are often shut out. Local doctors found the dialogue refreshing.
“I think what was really exciting was to hear the vice president focus on an inspirational message, how it's not about politics, it's not about infighting, it's all about everyone working together to try to do this as one group,” said Dr. Raj Srivastava, Assistant VP of research at Intermountain Health Care.
Biden said he’s working to eliminate roadblocks on the federal level so doctors can find a cure, sooner rather than later.
“There’s a limited window here," Biden said. "You identify it, you knock it out as quickly as you can, but we’re not at an inflection point and it’s generating an incredible amount of optimism and results."