First Lady Jill Biden speaks at Emory University about new cancer-fighting technology

First Lady Jill Biden speaking at Emory University in Atlanta on Friday, Sept. 15, 2023.
First Lady Jill Biden speaking at Emory University in Atlanta on Friday, Sept. 15, 2023.(Atlanta News First)
Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 6:01 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 15, 2023 at 7:15 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - First Lady Dr. Jill Biden kicked off her two-day visit to the Peach State on Thursday.

The First Lady delivered remarks for the Biden Victory Fund at a political event Thursday evening.

On Friday, she visited Emory University as part of the administration’s Cancer Moonshot, to highlight the launch of the first project funded through the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), which aims to use mRNA technology to train immune systems to fight cancer and other diseases more effectively.

President Biden and the First Lady recently met with the administration’s “Cancer Cabinet,” announcing $240 million in additional investment this year to prevent, detect and treat cancer.

“I’ve seen that there’s so much hope to be found and I see that hope here today,” she said, speaking to a small group of Emory researchers and faculty on Friday. “Together, we will make it so the word ‘cancer’ loses its power.”

Professor Philip Santangelo and his team at Emory University were the first to receive funding through this new effort.

“We wanted to design drugs that A - were personalized because every tumor is different, everyone’s disease is a little different too - but then that would allow us to basically turn the immune system up or turn the immune system down when necessary,” Santangelo said.

The administration’s Cancer Moonshot Initiative hopes to accelerate that with a goal of cutting the death rate by at least half by 2047.

Researchers at Emory University will use m-RNA technology to fight cancer. It’s the same technology that helped develop a successful COVID-19 vaccine and the hope is that it could also lead to cures for other illnesses, like auto-immune disorders.

“This work gives families the power to hold onto that hope just a little bit longer,” said Dr. Biden, “because this work could change lives.”