State of the Union 2016Image Courtesy of Media Spokesman

“For the loved ones we’ve all lost, for the family we can still save, let’s make America the country that cures cancer once and for all,” President Obama said in his State of the Union Address on January 12. With this, the president challenged researchers, oncology specialists, and healthcare professionals across the nation to develop a cure for cancer. 

Vice President Joe Biden, who recently lost his son Beau to brain cancer, will take charge of the initiative by working to increase research funding and accelerate cancer discoveries moving forward. The recent passage of the omnibus spending bill has increased the National Institute of Health (NIH) budget by a whopping $2 billion—the largest increase in over a decade. With that, the National Cancer Institute will receive an additional $264 million for its 2016 budget. 

Progressing Cancer Care Through Research

With an increased focus on research and funding, the current administration is providing scientists with an opportunity to pursue potential avenues that might lead to a cure. For some time, researchers have been working to develop therapies that use the body’s immune system to target different types of cancer. Immunotherapy and the larger field of precision medicine have been active areas of cancer research in recent years. Precision medicine research aims to use a patient’s genes to identify and tailor specific treatment plans to exactly fit that patient’s needs.

In years past, researchers have struggled to share their study results effectively among the research community. By actively working to dismantle their silos, cancer researchers can openly cooperate with others in an attempt to increase understanding and share data. With a renewed focus on collaboration, the vice president hopes to progress cancer care by leaps and bounds. 

ONS Stands Poised to Help

“ONS is proud to stand with President Obama, Vice President Biden, and oncology nurses everywhere as we continue our search for a cure,” said ONS CEO Brenda Nevidjon, RN, MSN, FAAN. “Oncology nurses will be at the forefront of the National Moonshot to cure cancer, and ONS will continue to support their efforts in everything they do. We look forward to working with healthcare professionals, researchers, oncology nurses, and the current presidential administration to improve cancer care for patients now and in the years to come.”

While many in oncology understand that the president’s challenge is a daunting task, it indicates a commitment to cancer research in 2016. ONS is proud to support oncology nurses and the broader cancer community in the fight against cancer.