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AACR Opposes Proposed Cuts to Fiscal Year 2011 Budget

April 3, 2011
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• Cuts affect our nation’s health, economic growth and national competitiveness.
• Proposed reduction in House would bring NIH back to fiscal year 2008 levels.
• Former Congressman, AACR officer and scientist addressed media Sunday, April 3.

ORLANDO, Fla. — The U.S. Congress will soon be facing another budget showdown as their sixth continuing resolution expires on April 8, 2011. While the entire government has been without permanent appropriations for nearly six months, the House Republicans and Senate Democrats continue to remain far apart on resolving the fiscal year FY2011 budget.

Among the myriad of issues under discussion is a House-passed bill (H.R. 1), which cuts funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by $1.6 billion in FY2011. The alternative Senate proposal would maintain NIH funding at current levels (FY2010). A cut of this magnitude proposed by the House would slow research progress and squander invaluable scientific opportunities, to the detriment of our nation’s health and our ability to maintain leadership in the global innovation economy.

Jon Retzlaff, managing director of the AACR’s Office of Science Policy and Government Affairs in Washington, D.C., said the $1.6 billion cut would leave the NIH budget at $29.4 billion, which is where it was in fiscal year 2008. However, when adjusted for biomedical inflation, H.R. 1 reduces NIH’s funding capacity to just slightly above the FY2001 level.

“The numbers are staggering because even at 2010 levels the NIH has lost 13 percent of its purchasing power since 2003 because increases have not kept pace with inflation,” said Retzlaff. “It is unfathomable that members of Congress are considering this draconian cut to the NIH budget at a time when we are poised to make a quantum leap in our abilities to help millions of patients. The AACR will work with our allies in Congress and the advocacy community to ensure that NIH is funded at least at its FY 2010 level.”

Retzlaff addressed the media on Sunday, April 3 at 3:00 p.m. ET in room W313 of the Orange Country Convention Center. He was joined by:

  • The Honorable John Edward Porter, who, as chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies from 1995-2000, made cancer and biomedical research his highest national priority. Former Congressman Porter is receiving the 2011 AACR Award for Distinguished Service and Global Impact in Cancer and Biomedical Research for his significant and sustained contributions to cancer and biomedical research, including his leadership of the effort to double the budget of the NIH. Porter is currently chairman of Research!America and acting chair of the Foundation for the NIH.
  • Rebecca B. Riggins, Ph.D., assistant professor of oncology at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. As a young scientist, Riggins received a grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to study the role of Bisphenol A (BPA) in breast cancer risk. A $1.6 billion cut in NIH funding would jeopardize her ability to successfully compete for funding that is critical to her ongoing translational studies and the training of future cancer researchers.
  • Carolyn Langlie-Lesnik, R.N., a nine-year survivor of signet ring appendiceal adenocarcinoma, a rare cancer which has a 90 percent mortality rate. Langlie-Lesnik owes her survival to the sort of groundbreaking research funded by the NIH and now works to help others with her condition as president of the Appendix Cancer Connection, Inc.

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The mission of the American Association for Cancer Research is to prevent and cure cancer. Founded in 1907, the AACR is the world’s oldest and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research. The membership includes 33,000 basic, translational and clinical researchers; health care professionals; and cancer survivors and advocates in the United States and more than 90 other countries. The AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise from the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer through high-quality scientific and educational programs. It funds innovative, meritorious research grants, research fellowships and career development awards. The AACR Annual Meeting attracts more than 18,000 participants who share the latest discoveries and developments in the field. Special conferences throughout the year present novel data across a wide variety of topics in cancer research, treatment and patient care. Including Cancer Discovery, the AACR publishes seven major peer-reviewed journals: Cancer Research; Clinical Cancer Research; Molecular Cancer Therapeutics; Molecular Cancer Research; Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention; and Cancer Prevention Research. AACR journals represented 20 percent of the market share of total citations in 2009. The AACR also publishes CR, a magazine for cancer survivors and their families, patient advocates, physicians and scientists.

Media Contact:
Jeremy Moore
(267) 646-0557
In Orlando, April 2-6:
(407) 685-4001

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