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Politics

Joe Biden will visit the Vatican to discuss his fight to cure cancer

Joe Biden

Vice President Joe Biden, shown at a Washington forum in March, has visited some of America’s top medical centers as part of his “moonshot” to cure cancer.

(Drew Angerer / Getty Images)

Vice President Joe Biden, who has traveled to some America’s leading medical centers in recent weeks as part of what he has called his moonshot to cure cancer, will soon take his quest to the Vatican.

Biden will address a major conference on the progress of regenerative medicine in Vatican City on April 29, the vice president’s office said Wednesday.

The gathering, hosted by the Stem for Life Foundation and the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Culture, will also draw leading physicians, ethicists and philanthropists to discuss the potential of emerging research to treat cancer and other diseases. The initiative has been championed by Pope Francis, who worked as a chemist before he entered the priesthood and has written in support of scientific progress.

Biden will be the latest leading U.S. political figure to attend a major gathering at the Vatican. Sen. Bernie Sanders, a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, will travel there this week to address a separate summit on social, economic and environmental issues.

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Other details on the vice president’s three-day trip to Rome and the Vatican, including a possible meeting with Francis, had not yet been determined, his office said.

Biden, the nation’s first Catholic vice president, attended Francis’ papal inauguration in 2013 and attended multiple events during the Catholic leader’s visit to the U.S. last fall, including his address to Congress and departure from Philadelphia after the World Meeting of Families there.

Biden has praised Francis’ message of inclusion, writing in Time magazine that the pope “put a welcome sign on the front door of the Church.” Biden has also spoken of Francis’ personal empathy toward him and his family since the death last May of Biden’s eldest son, Beau, and the role of his faith in coping with personal tragedy.

The vice president’s effort to cure cancer, first announced by Biden as he said last fall that he would not run for president, was formally launched this year in President Obama’s State of the Union address. Biden has since traveled to Duke University, the University of Pennsylvania, Johns Hopkins University and other research centers as part of his effort to bring stakeholders together in search of a cure.

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