​Ex-Vice President Biden to Speak About Cancer Moonshot at SXSW

[Updated 3/6/17 5:37 pm. See below.] Austin—Former vice president Joseph Biden will speak at the South By Southwest festival March 12, where he is expected to outline plans for his Biden Cancer Initiative.

SXSW organizers said Biden will update attendees on the progress made under his leadership of the White House Cancer Moonshot as well as call for innovative solutions to the barriers that prevent faster gains in ending cancer. His appearance will take place at the Austin Convention Center at 3:30 pm.

In December, former president Barack Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act, which contains about $4.8 billion for the National Institutes of Health for cancer, neuroscience, and precision medicine studies, among other priorities. The Senate also renamed part of the bill after the former vice president’s son, Beau Biden, whose death from brain cancer in 2015 underscored his father’s efforts to create the national “cancer moonshot” program.

[Updated to add third partner in the event.] Earlier on Sunday, SXSW will host the “Connect to End Cancer” event, a joint project between the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and the AT&T Foundry for Connected Health, both based in Houston, as well as Merck & Co. Startups innovating in areas like patient engagement and experience, clinical trials management, cybersecurity, will be featured.

That Biden moonshot program is aligned with MD Anderson, which was one of 270 locations around the country where the program was unveiled in June 2016. Two Houston health IT startups are among the private companies enlisted as partners to this effort. DocGraph and CareSet Systems, both based in Houston, are developing a cancer dataset that would contain summarized information on nearly a million Medicare cancer patients and more than 10 million specific patient claims. The idea, the companies say, is to provide the most accurate picture of how cancer is treated by the government-funded health plan.

“His commitment and leadership is crucial at a time when the smartest minds from the worlds of technology and healthcare are working together to create groundbreaking new solutions in the battle to end cancer,” said Hugh Forrest, SXSW’s chief programming officer in a press release.

Angela Shah is the editor of Xconomy Texas. She can be reached at ashah@xconomy.com or (214) 793-5763. Follow @angelashah

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