The idea of taking a "moonshot" approach to addressing cancer has great potential. Cancer is, after heart disease, the biggest killer and one of the most costly diseases. But if the project is to be successful there are political currents to navigate and the Obama's history in those currents is quite checkered.
When Obama talks about a cancer cure, it is likely that he is referring to the standard medical model approach-- a top-down cure-- a wonder drug, vaccine, or maybe a complex chemo/drug/radiation treatment delivered by heroic, super-doctors and scientists from top institutions. . These are top down because of they way they are developed and implemented-- dispensed by people higher in the hierarchy to passive recipients.
It would be sad, frustrating, perhaps disingenuous, outrageous, and yet, expected if this project totally ignored the bottom-up approach to cancer.
Bottom-up approaches to cancer work to reduce carcinogenic, "upstream" factors in the environment-- water, air, food-- and carcinogenic behaviors. There's are a few more aspect to looking at cancer from a bottom-up perspective. It is primarily a preventive approach. Much of the approach involves stopping doing things-- dumping chemicals into the water supply, allowing and including additives to food, avoiding eating processed foods, animal products and foods that have many additives in them. And let's not forget other carcinogenic sources-- radioactivity, energy radiation, like that found in mobile phones and who knows where else. It's a combination of stopping certain business practices and stopping certain behaviors-- particularly eating the wrong foods. Tapping the power of the immune system can also be a bottom-up approach, especially if it is done with diet, psychology, exercise and natural approaches.
This bottom-up aspect of cancer is where the political currents run deep. There are deep corporate pockets that have been lobbying for decades to prevent the FDA from even finding out what chemicals and food additives are carcinogenic. Who knows what effects burning fossil fuels by the billions of tons has on cancer? We're starting to see evidence that radio-frequency and electromagnetic radiation from mobile phones and maybe from cell towers can cause some cancers, as well as neurological problems.
When it comes to food there are so many chemicals used to grow plants and animals and already we know some of them are carcinogenic. Glyphosates-- Monsanto's Round-up, for example-- and the UN has stated that they are likely carcinogens.
If Obama and Biden really aim to cure cancer the place to start is the identification of sources and causes of cancer. The problem is, the cancer treatment business is big-- it will reach close to $160 billion a year by 2020, and that's just the cost for outpatient treatment, drugs and hospital fees. Some pharmaceutical companies are charging $200,000+ for a course of treatment. There's a lot of profit in cancer. That could drive costs even higher. And Obama has a history of appointing executives and attorneys from those business in high government positions of power.
I'm not saying Obama and Biden are aiming to build new profit centers for the cancer business. But if they are serious about really curing cancer, they MUST address the root causes. Anything less and they will be selling out to the lobbies that profit from carcinogenic business practices-- pollution, additives, radiation, etc. Unfortunately, Obama's history is pretty bad. Still, Joe Biden has his heart in it, what with the loss of his son to cancer. He might do the right thing and address both top-down and bottom-up approaches to dealing with cancer.
I propose that an independent team composed of scientists, health care experts, and experts in food, toxic additives, agrochemicals, different forms of radiation. The team should also include consumer activists-- to keep an eye to be sure that the experts are clean-- no past history or current funding by potential companies that engage carcinogen related businesses which extract profits through sale or use of carcinogens.
It might be easier to spend $100 billion or more on top-down approaches than it is to move politicians to take the bottom-up approaches that could eliminate the causes in the first place.