KUNM

Summit Kicks Off White House Initiative To Fight Cancer

Jun 29, 2016

Most everyone knows someone who has died of cancer. It’s the number two killer in the United States. A White House initiative tried to jump start efforts to cure cancer with virtual summits at 270 sites across the country, including New Mexico.

Olivier Rixe is an associate director at the University of New Mexico’s Cancer Center. He says 10 to 15 percent of cancer patients here are in clinical trials – that’s a lot better than the national average of 4 percent, but he says there’s still a long way to go.  

“Why? Because access to clinical trials is access to innovation and innovation is always linked to better care,” said Rixe. 

Rixe said New Mexico is also one of the few states in the country where oncologists share information about clinical trials which makes the medical system easier for patients and doctors to navigate.

But nationally, researchers aren’t sharing clinical trial information – that’s according to Vice President Joe Biden who is leading the initiative.

In a live stream address to the summits, Biden said jacked up drug prices and the way that medical researchers have to write grants instead of develop cures is stalling progress. He’s asking Congress for nearly a billion dollars to fund the initiative.