Vice President Joe Biden outlined his plan for aggressively accelerating cancer research in Boston Wednesday. Biden’s so-called "cancer moonshot" is aimed at achieving 10 years of cancer research and treatment progress in just five years. And the vice president told the crowd at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute in Dorchester we’re on the cusp of enormous progress.

“Because of so many of the people in this great city involved in cancer research and the major hospitals of the world, we now have an army and powerful technology and tools, and with this moonshot, I believe we have a clear strategy how to move ahead,” Biden said.

The vice president considers this a personal issue, since his son, Beau, died of cancer last year.

He said some were skeptical when President Barack Obama asked him in his final State of the Union address to head the cancer initiative, because of President Richard Nixon’s underwhelming war on cancer, launched some 40 years before. Now, he said, there’s been remarkable progress in scientific knowledge and computing power. But he said we’re still operating by the same rules.

“The culture of medicine was very different then," Biden said. "The idea of sharing data, there was very little data to share. The idea of the way we provided research grants was very different because there was not much to aggregate.”

Biden outlined a plan for encouraging cancer researchers to share more data with each other, as well as for making it quicker and easier for patients to join clinical trials. This week, Amazon and Microsoft announced a collaboration for making cancer genomic data available in the cloud.

“So if any one of these things we’re talking about, and so much more on the horizon, speeds up by a month, a year, two years or three years, it is really consequential,” he said.

Audience member Gina Paglucia lost her husband when he was just 51. She said Biden’s speech gave her hope.

“Hearing Vice President Biden talk about pushing things faster, I would have loved if there was time for my husband to get in a trial," Paglucia said. "There wasn’t time, and everything moved very fast. So, like everything he said about accelerating, it’s really true. There’s never enough time.”

Scott Pomeroy, the chair of neurology at Boston Children’s Hospital, focuses on pediatric brain tumors.

“It’s really just the right time to break down the barriers and say let’s all work together collaboratively," he said. "Let’s do it across the country, let’s do it around the world. And I actually believe it will make a big difference to do this. I’m very excited about the progress that can be made by doing this approach.”

Pomeroy said the change in how researchers work won't happen instantaneously. But ultimately, he said, they’re poised to do it.