White House Launches Cancer Research Initiative

White House Launches Cancer Research Initiative

Biden Administration Launches New Research Program to Improve Cancer Surgeries


The Biden administration has recently launched a research program aimed at improving cancer surgeries by helping doctors more accurately identify cancer cells from healthy tissue during surgical procedures. This program, which falls under the purview of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), is part of President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot initiative. The initiative seeks to enhance cancer treatments and make significant breakthroughs in the fight against cancer.

Currently, surgical procedures are often the first-line treatment for the approximately 2 million Americans diagnosed with cancer each year. However, one of the challenges faced by surgeons is the difficulty in distinguishing cancer cells from normal surrounding tissue in the operating room. This limitation can lead to repeat surgeries, more challenging recoveries, increased risk of cancer recurrence, and higher healthcare costs. To address this issue, the new research program aims to fund and support promising new techniques and technologies that can improve the precision and accuracy of cancer removal surgeries.

Highlighting the potential impact of this program, President Biden stated, “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.” The Biden administration, through ARPA-H, aims to support and fund these innovative approaches to surgical cancer treatment.

This new initiative not only holds the potential to revolutionize cancer treatment but also aligns with the broader goal of the administration to reduce cancer deaths. Arati Prabhakar, the director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, emphasized the significance of improving the initial step of cancer treatment, which often involves surgery. She stated, “What’s true is that many cancer treatments still start with surgery. So, being really smart and attacking and developing new technology to make that first step better could really revolutionize how we are able to treat cancer for so many Americans.”

Traditionally, federal research funding primarily finds its way to university or government laboratories. However, ARPA-H programs follow a different approach, actively seeking ideas and projects from a broader range of sources. By encouraging risk-taking and exploring novel ideas, ARPA-H aims to uncover breakthrough solutions that may have broader impacts on cancer treatment. Danielle Carnival, coordinator of the White House Cancer Moonshot program, expressed optimism about the open call for research objectives. She noted, “I would expect some really great ideas and new projects to come out of that call.”

The establishment of the research program by ARPA-H is a significant step towards advancing cancer treatment and surgery. It serves as a central pillar of the Biden administration’s commitment to achieving its goal of reducing cancer deaths. By investing in innovative approaches, this research program has the potential to improve surgical outcomes, enhance patient recoveries, and ultimately save lives. The fight against cancer continues, and with initiatives like this, there is hope for a brighter future.

Additional Resources

Visit the White House for more information on the Cancer Moonshot initiative.

SOURCES: White House, news releases, July 27, 2023; Associated Press


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