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President Biden said Friday that ending cancer will be his next big scientific endeavor after overcoming the coronavirus pandemic. 

“I want you to know that once we beat COVID, we’re gonna do everything we can to end cancer as we know it,” Biden said in Michigan after touring a Pfizer vaccine manufacturing plant. 

Biden was in charge of President Obama’s “Cancer Moonshoot” initiative launched in 2016 to double the rate of progress toward a cure. The priority is personal to Biden, who lost his son Beau Biden to brain cancer in 2015. He was 46. 

President Joe Biden walks with Albert Bourla, Pfizer CEO, right, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, second from right, and Jeff Zients, White House coronavirus response coordinator, as he tours of a Pfizer manufacturing site, Friday, Feb. 19, 2021, in Portage, Mich. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
(AP)

Biden drew parallels between fighting the pandemic and taking on cancer, the second-leading cause of death in America behind heart disease. 

“This is a case of life and death,” Biden said. “We’re talking about people’s lives.”

He mentioned his January nomination of Eric Lander as Presidential Science Advisor and Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, a Cabinet-level assignment. He praised Lander as “a renowned Harvard, MIT scientist” and said he’ll help bring together the country’s top scientists to conduct advanced research on cancer and other diseases. 

“This administration is going to be guided by science to save lives and to make life better,” Biden said. 

Biden’s comments came as he visited the Pfizer vaccine manufacturing plant outside of Kalamazoo and touted progress his administration has made in speeding up the distribution of the shots. 

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“I can’t give you a date when this crisis will end,” Biden said. “But I can tell you we are doing everything possible to have that day come sooner rather than later.”

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