Bipartisan lawmakers work to help realize Biden’s dream of a federal agency dedicated to cancer research

Jun 22, 2021
In The News

Reps. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) and Fred Upton (R-Mich.) are circulating a proposal to fulfill President Biden’s dream of creating a federal research agency dedicated to finding a cure for cancer and other deadly diseases.

Since he was vice president, Biden has called on the federal government to use its tremendous resources to help end cancer, which causes more than 600,000 Americans deaths a year and killed Biden’s oldest son, Beau, who died of an aggressive brain cancer in 2015.

The bill would authorize the $6.5 billion the White House requested in its fiscal 2022 budget to create an Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health, or ARPA-H, modeled after the military’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA.

“The federal government has amazing resources at its disposal,” DeGette and Upton said in a joint statement, “and now is the time to put the full weight of those resources to use to cure some of the world’s most devastating diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and more. Developing and delivering new lifesaving cures is a mission that must unite all of us.”

They point to DARPA’s success in funding the development of the mRNA vaccine for covid-19 and suggest that the new entity could seek to use that technology to help prevent cancer.

The lawmakers said they have been working with the White House on the proposal for several months.

“The Bidens know, firsthand, the pain and heartache that comes from losing a loved one to an illness, such as cancer. Like us, they’re determined to find new cures and treatments for these difficult diseases and we couldn’t be more excited to be working with them to make this dream come true.”