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Vice President Biden will lead new initiative to fight for cancer cure

Vice President Joe Biden has been tasked with leading a new national initiative to fight for a cure for cancer after he lost his 46-year-old son Beau Biden to brain cancer last May.

"It's personal for me. But it's also personal for nearly every American, and millions of people around the world. We all know someone who has had cancer, or is fighting to beat it," Biden wrote in a post on Medium after President Obama announced Biden's new assignment during his final State of the Union address Tuesday night.

Biden explained his mission will be to increase private and public resources to fight cancer and to bring cancer fighters together to work collaboratively, share information and end the disease.

The vice president, who described the new initiative as a "moonshot," said he has already met with nearly 200 of the world's top cancer researchers, physicians and philanthropists over the last few months. When Biden decided in October to opt out of the 2016 presidential race, he promised a "moonshot" to cure cancer.

On Friday, Biden will go to the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania to speak with doctors and researchers. Next week, he said he'll head to Davos, Switzerland to attend the World Economic Forum where he plans to meet with a group of international cancer experts.

Later this month, Biden said he'll convene the first in a series of meeting on the issue with members of the president's cabinet and the heads of all relevant agencies to discuss ways the federal government can participate.

Biden's eldest son, Beau, died last May after battling brain cancer. He served as attorney general of Delaware and had been eyeing a run for governor.

  • Rebecca Shabad

    Rebecca Shabad is a video reporter for CBS News Digital.