Tag Archives: Cancer Research Funding

NIH Calls Proposed Cancer Research Funding Cuts Unacceptable

NIH Calls Proposed Cancer Research Funding Cuts Unacceptable
NIH Calls Proposed Cancer Research Funding Cuts Unacceptable

Can you put a price on good health? Major medical organizations have been reacting strongly to proposed deep cuts in scientific and medical research funding that would severely hamper research programs such as immunotherapy for cancer.

Drastic Slashes in Scientific Research Funding and Healthcare Coverage

Stipulations in the Trump administration’s proposed 2018 budget that are drawing the biggest backlash include:

• The National Institutes of Health (NIH) would see a staggering $5.8 billion reduction in overall funding, of which $1 billion would come out of the budget for the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

• Over the next 10 years Medicaid funding would be reduced by $600 billion, resulting in lack of health insurance for needy groups such as children, elderly and disabled.

The Scientific and Medical Community Responds

Daniel F. Hayes, M.D., president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), explained that many major breakthroughs in cancer research have come from federally-funded organizations such as the NIH. In addition, federal research funding allows the scientific and medical industry to generate $60 billion a year in economic activity.

Similar concern was expressed by Chris Hansen, president of the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). He referred to polls showing that 90 percent of voters rate federal funding for medical research as “very” or “extremely” important, with 75 percent supporting an increase in NIH funding.

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Federal Budget Games Hurt Cancer Research

Low Budgets Are Hurting Research
Low Budgets Are Hurting Research

When the American Society of Clinical Oncology released its Annual Report on Progress Against Cancer last December, the cancer news was good and bad. Advances in cancer research were achieving “extraordinary progress in the fight against cancer,” but budget cuts and years of flat funding were delaying efforts to turn research into effective cancer treatments, Science Daily explained.

Effective Cancer Treatments

ASCO highlighted three cancer treatments at the forefront of cancer news:

  • Genomics: the use of genetic research to personalize cancer treatment.

Research-Treatment Link

The report links the development of cancer treatment techniques and the drop in cancer death rates “to our nation’s investment in cancer research over the past four decades.” Unfortunately, Congressional sequester and mandated federal budget cuts have slowed the pace of cancer research. More than half a million Americans die from cancer every year, but ASCO warns that cancer fatalities could increase dramatically without adequate research funding.

Funding Commitment Needed

ASCO’s plea that “Congress do its part to re-ignite our nation’s commitment to cancer research” appears to have fallen on deaf ears. The National Cancer Institute’s 2014 budget was $4.9 billion, only a slight increase over its 2013 budget. However, as explained by NCI Funding Policy, “this increase only restores about 53% of the sequestration reduction that NCI experienced during fiscal year 2013.”

It is time for the Congress to stop playing budget games that hurt cancer research. As ASCO President Clifford Hudis points out, “Lives depend on it.”