WASHINGTON – Vice President Biden will launch his effort to find a cure for cancer Friday in Philadelphia, with a visit to Penn's Abramson Cancer Center at the school's Perelman School of Medicine.

Biden announced the visit in an online post Tuesday night, when the call to cure the disease was one of the highlights of President Obama's State of the Union speech.

"It's personal for me. But it's also personal for nearly every American, and millions of people around the world," said Biden's post on Medium. The vice president's son Beau died of brain cancer at the age of 46 last year.

Biden compared the effort to President Kennedy's call to go to the moon.

"From my own personal experience, I've learned that research and therapies are on the cusp of incredible breakthroughs," Biden wrote. "The goal of this initiative — this "Moonshot" — is to seize this moment."

Obama announced the effort in his speech Tuesday night, drawing cheers from both sides of the aisle.

"Because he's gone to the mat for all of us, on so many issues over the past 40 years, I'm putting Joe in charge of mission control," Obama said. "For the loved ones we've all lost, for the family we can still save, let's make America the country that cures cancer once and for all."

Biden said he will aim to coordinate efforts across government, the private sector, researchers, physicians, patients, and philanthropies to make progress in fighting cancer.

Philadelphia Rep. Chaka Fattah praised the ambitious initiative.

"I'm very pleased that the president laid it out as a grand challenge for the country," said Fattah, the top Democrat on the committee that oversees appropriations for science.

He said Biden's visit reflects how "Penn is leading the world" in innovation for fighting cancer. "He's coming to Penn on the merits," Fattah said.

You can follow Tamari on Twitter or email him at jtamari@phillynews.com.