In a SXSW keynote, the former vice president argued that the effort to fight cancer is all about data collection and how technologists can help in the battle.

Joe Biden’s speech grew more passionate and emotional as he addressed the packed audience at the SXSW conference.  In what began as his Cancer Moonshot Task Force challenge as the Obama administration’s last year in office, he shared several lessons that shaped the work he and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, plan to do with the Biden Cancer Initiative.

The work of the Cancer Moonshot Task Force and the Biden Cancer Initiative is tasked with finding a cure to the disease,and referenced John F. Kennedy’s initiative to put a human being on the moon. “He talked about the effort to go to the moon as a commitment that the American people had made and were unwilling to postpone. That was his phrase.”

Biden asked the techies in the SXSW audience to devote as their time and resources to helping researchers gain access to data, technology and tools needed to beat cancer with as much tech as it requires to increase modern smartphone tasks.

“We can solve all these problems,” Biden said. “They’re technological problems, [not] a cancer problem. We need your help, we need your help.”

Biden lost his son Beau to brain cancer a year ago, said that he would have liked to have been president when the cure is finally found. When President Obama announced his Moonshot initiative, he immediately charged Biden to spearhead the initiative.

“When he gave me the sign, he gave me all of the authority of the president to go through with this,” Biden explained. “I could hire, fire, set priorities. I didn’t have to check.” As he delved into the project, he said, “I learned that we have to approach cancer at this moment with the urgency of now.”

After Donald Trump’s presidential election, Biden announced still remains vigilant to spend the rest of his life in the fight against cancer with theBiden Cancer Initiative in a privatized version of the Obama administration’s moonshot initiative, which includes the former director of the Obama administration’s Cancer Moonshot Task Force as well as other members of that team.

Despite their being a lot of tax payer money going in to a bulk of the research to fight cancer, private money is still needed and plays a large role.

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Hayden Walker
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Hayden Walker is the Editor in Chief and Director of Operations for Austin Food Magazine

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