Biden, Pope to Discuss Cancer Cures 04/29 06:28
Having pushed to accelerate cancer research at home, Vice President Joe
Biden is working to focus the global community's attention on the devastating
disease at the Vatican.
ROME (AP) -- Having pushed to accelerate cancer research at home, Vice
President Joe Biden is working to focus the global community's attention on the
devastating disease at the Vatican.
In his speech Friday to a conference on regenerative medicine, Biden plans
to draw connections between medical research and broader societal and moral
issues that Pope Francis has shined a light on. While in Vatican City, Biden is
expected to see the pontiff, who will also speak at the conference, but it is
unclear whether they will hold a substantial meeting.
Though the medical and faith communities have sometimes been wary of each
other, Biden planned to emphasize that faith and compassion are compatible with
reason and science, according to administration officials who briefed reporters
on his trip. It's a theme that President Barack Obama has stressed when it
comes to addressing climate change, another issue the pope has embraced.
Last year, the vice president lost a son, former Delaware Attorney General
Beau Biden, to brain cancer, and months later declared a "moonshot" to cure
cancer when he announced he wouldn't run for president. Since then, he's
launched a task force with Obama's blessing and the White House asked Congress
for $1 billion over two budget years for research, although only a fraction has
so far been approved.
In a speech last month to the American Association for Cancer Research,
Biden said he's been struck by how leaders from nations as different as Israel
and the United Arab Emirates all want to talk with him about one thing: cancer.
"I believe together we can redesign a new system --- or adjust to a new
system --- that better supports your efforts and saves lives sooner than
otherwise," Biden said. "Because I really do believe we're on the cusp of
breakthroughs that will save lives, benefit all of humanity."
Biden, a Catholic, also planned to meet with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the
Vatican secretary of state, at the Apostolic Palace. He'll also sit down with
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi at Palazzo Chigi, the prime minister's
The vice president traveled to Rome from Iraq, where he paid a surprise
visit Thursday to meet with Iraqi leaders about their political crisis and the
campaign against the Islamic State group.