Med School Deans Criticize Biden’s “Cancer Moonshot”
A coalition of medical school leaders have joined to criticize Vice President Joe Biden’s “Cancer Moonshot” initiative — a plan he launched in January at Penn.
In an open letter to Biden, the med school leaders say that resources would be spent on finding ways to prevent cancer rather than cure the disease.
“Since the beginning of the “War on Cancer,” the most notable cancer successes have been due to the power and efficacy of prevention,” the letter says. “The massive reductions in lung, cervical, colorectal and gastric cancer mortality rates are almost entirely due to a focus on public health and prevention approaches.”
More than 60 med school officials — including Wenke Hwang, director of Master of Public Health Program at Pennsylvania State University’s College of Medicine and Jennifer Pinto-Martin, director of the Master of Public Health program at Penn — signed the letter.
Biden came to Penn in January to announce the moonshot initiative.
“My goal is that we find absolute cures, but for some cancers where we get to the point where we can manage them and they become chronic diseases,” Biden said at Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center. “The goal is: Whatever breakthroughs we can make in 10 years, my goal is to make sure we can do it in five years.”
Biden’s son, Beau, died of cancer in May at the age of 46.
Dr. David Nash, dean of the College of Population Health at Thomas Jefferson University, also signed the letter. He told WITF that it would be more effective to cut the use of smoking, soda, and fatty foods.
“The policy community wants to tear its hair out when Vice President Biden visits the University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center, makes front page news, silly, silly, silly,” Nash said. “When you start talking about taxing sugary beverages, putting calorie counts in Starbucks, it sounds like the nanny state. But the research evidence is irrefutable. It really does work.”