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Vice President Biden Visits Duke, Discusses Efforts To Cure Cancer

Vice President Joe Biden spoke with Paul Modrich, recepient of a 2015 Noble Price in Chemistry, during a tour of Duke Medical School on Wednesday.
Jeff Tiberii

Vice President Joe Biden told an audience in Durham that he hopes to serve as a facilitator in the efforts to cure cancer.

Biden visited Duke University Wednesday afternoon to visit a research laboratory, ask questions about how to improve collaboration,  and pledge to help clear the way through bureaucratic obstacles.

When Biden announced in October of last year that he would not run for President, he stated a primary focus would be on leading an initiative to cure the disease. Biden's son Beau passed away last May, succumbing to brain cancer.

Since Biden's announcement, President Obama has proposed nearly one billion dollars to fund expanded federal scientific research. Biden reiterated a goal to make a decade's worth of advancements in the next five years.

"We need advice on how we can be more helpful and we will not hesitate to tell you where we think the community could be more helpful," the Vice President told a panel of medical professionals.

"Where you view the government as being a bureaucratic stumbling block - I promise you I will clear the way. I promise you."

Biden toured the Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans Center for Health Education, Duke University School of Medicine. There he spoke with Paul Modrich, who was awarded the Noble Price in Chemistry last year.

Afterward, he spoke with physicians from Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill, calling on an end to silos of information, improved collaboration and suggestions about how the federal government can help.

"What can we do to reduce the cost of clinical trials? How do we expand access? Other questions we need to ask - is how do we get drug companies to be part of the solution? And they do great work - this is not an attack on drug companies," Biden asked the group.

Biden said he believes the great hope of curing cancer lies in the aggregated information of what has already been discovered.

Jeff Tiberii is the co-host of WUNC's "Due South." Jeff joined WUNC in 2011. During his 20 years in public radio, he was Morning Edition Host at WFDD and WUNC’s Greensboro Bureau Chief and later, the Capitol Bureau Chief. Jeff has covered state and federal politics, produced the radio documentary “Right Turn,” launched a podcast, and was named North Carolina Radio Reporter of the Year four times.
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