By Jan Carabeo, John McDevitt

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Vice President Joe Biden was in Philadelphia Friday as he launched an effort to find a cure for cancer.

Biden is calling this his “moonshot” — comparing his initiative to a mission to the moon 55 years ago. He says that call to action inspired science and innovation, and now he says curing cancer should be this generation’s “moonshot.”

The goal, he says, is simple: double the rate of progress, making a decades worth of advance in five years.

To do that, Biden says, he plans on increasing resources, both private and public, to fight the disease. He says this will all get done through fundraising and incentives.

That begins today. He’ll be hearing about innovative therapy at Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center.

Dr. Lynn Schuchter is chief of hematology/oncology there. She says a number of things will be highlighted for Biden, including a new immu/no/therapy designed to stimulate a patient’s own immune system to tackle their cancer:

“And Dr. Carl June here at the Abramson Cancer Center has led the development of something called ‘CAR T-Cells.’ These are actually T-Cells, a type of white blood cell, that’s removed from a patient, they’re engineered in a laboratory to make them much more specific and powerful for a patient’s cancer and then infused back into a patient.”

 

 

Dr. Schuchter says its been a revolutionary approach to treating patients with leukemia, and now a type of blood cancer called myleoma.

The goal, she says, “is to really take this innovative new therapy into some of the more common cancers that have been very resistant to treatment. So we’ll certainly highlight our work with CAR T-Cell therapy and different types of immunotherapy”.

This is obviously a personal mission for the Vice President. He lost his son, Beau, to brain cancer last May.

Biden is scheduled to arrive at the university at 3 p.m. He’ll tour the Center then participate in a round table discussion.