Doudna joins Biden during Bay Area stop on cancer ‘listening tour’

When Vice President Joe Biden dropped by UC San Francisco on Saturday for a wide-ranging discussion of the current state of cancer research, UC Berkeley’s Jennifer Doudna was on hand to emphasize the need to fund basic research as well as clinical research.

Vice President Joe Biden visited UCSF on Feb. 27 as part of his ‘cancer moonshot’ tour, where he heard from scientists such as UC Berkeley’s Jennifer Doudna, the co-inventor of the CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing tool now being applied to cancer research. (Video by Roxanne Makasdjian and Stephen McNally)

Using the gene-editing tool she discovered, CRISPR-Cas9, as an example, Doudna plugged the important role of basic biological research in any effort to understand the drivers of cancer and discover possible new therapies for the disease.

“I just would love to see the cancer moonshot continue to support fundamental research that leads to breakthroughs that are going to be critical to address this mission,” she told Biden.

Biden referenced their earlier meeting in Davos, Switzerland, on Jan. 19, where the vice president rolled out plans by the Obama administration to invest $1 billion in this national initiative to eliminate cancer.

“You sold me on that at Davos,” he said.

The UCSF visit was one stop on a national “listening tour” of cancer centers that includes meetings with patients, doctors and researchers and discussions to get feedback about how the federal government can encourage innovative new treatments and eliminate barriers to testing them.

Biden appeared with his wife, Jill, who holds a doctoral degree in education, at the panel discussion in Mission Bay’s Genentech Hall, and later toured the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center.