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Biden Administration Invests $24 Million in mRNA Research to Revolutionize Cancer Treatment

On Wednesday, the Biden administration's newly-formed biomedical research agency announced an investment of up to $24 million for the advancement of mRNA platforms. These platforms are aimed at enhancing the immune system's ability to combat cancer and other illnesses.

Leading the research will be a team from Emory University, based in Atlanta. The funds for this project will come from the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), an initiative created to support groundbreaking and high-potential research.

This initiative aligns with President Biden's "cancer moonshot" ambition, which targets a 50% reduction in cancer mortality by 2047.

Both the moonshot and ARPA-H initiatives fall under Biden's "unity agenda," which he unveiled during his 2022 State of the Union speech. This agenda promotes bipartisan unity on vital issues, such as the fight against cancer.

This is the inaugural award from ARPA-H since it began accepting proposals last year.

The overarching aim of this project is to establish a comprehensive suite of mRNA and associated technologies. Such tools can potentially "activate" beneficial immune reactions, like urging immune cells to zero in on and combat tumors, as per the statement from the White House. The potential of this technology isn't limited to cancer; it could also be valuable in managing autoimmune diseases, transplants, and infectious conditions.

Biden emphasized the significance of mRNA technology by highlighting its role in the development of COVID-19 vaccines, which have been crucial in saving countless lives globally. He mentioned, "These therapies ... underscore the essence of American creativity and pioneering spirit." He added, "Emory University's proficient team will now focus on leveraging this technology to render more cancer types treatable. This audacious initiative can revolutionize our battle against cancer and other challenging medical conditions."

Introduced last year, ARPA-H received an initial allocation of $1 billion. Furthermore, President Biden has proposed an allocation of up to $2.5 billion for the agency in his anticipated 2024 fiscal budget.


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