SEATTLE (AP) — Vice President Joe Biden toured a Seattle research facility on Monday, saying scientists are at a turning point in their efforts to eliminate cancer.
The tour is part of the White House's $1 billion proposal for a new initiative to cure cancer. Since the president's announcement during his State of the Union address in January, Biden has been visiting cancer researchers and advocates. The vice president's son, Beau, died of brain cancer last year at the age of 46.
"When you have someone you love who is essentially given a death sentence, you try to learn everything you possible can in order to determine whether or not there is any alternative, any option, anything you can possibly do," Biden said during a round-table discussion with researchers, doctors and nurses. "So the most important thing I learned is that we are at an inflection point. We weren't there 10 years ago, or even seven years ago, but what changed and continues to change is the cooperation."
Biden said cooperation among different fields —such as virology, immunotherapy, and genetics — combating cancer is encouraging. The vice president toured the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, which is spearheading immunotherapy, a treatment that attempts to use a patient's own immune system to fight cancerous cells.
"If there was ever a time to grow our national investment in cancer research it is now," said Dr. D. Gary Gilliland, President Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
The cancer research tour was part of the vice president's visit to Seattle, which also included a luncheon with Democrat U.S. Sen. Patty Murray.