The task force, whose first meeting is planned for Monday, will be composed of officials from more than a dozen federal agencies. It aims to "accelerate progress towards prevention, treatment, and a cure -- to double the rate of progress in the fight against cancer -- and put ourselves on a path to achieve in just five years research and treatment gains that otherwise might take a decade or more," according to the White House. Aides said the panel will focus on a mix of federal investments and private sector efforts.
Obama and Biden have both described the effort as a "moon shot" in their last year in office. Biden, whose son Beau died last year at 46 of brain cancer, described himself in the blog post as being overwhelmed by the outpouring of support.
"I’ve heard from tens of thousands of people — survivors, caretakers, family members — sharing how this horrible disease has touched their lives," he wrote. "I’m not naïve about the challenges ahead. But I’ve never been more optimistic that we can do big things."