AACR Expresses Concern With the President’s FY2013 Budget
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The American Association for Cancer Research is grateful for President Obama’s outspoken support for science, innovation and research, but fears the president’s recent proposal to freeze funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in fiscal year 2013 will slow the rate of progress against cancer.
“The potential for continued flat funding could not come at a worse time because the opportunities for turning our growing scientific knowledge into effective strategies for the treatment and prevention of cancer have never been greater,” said AACR President Judy E. Garber, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Center for Cancer Genetics and Prevention at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
“This is a defining moment in cancer research; tremendous progress has been made in our understanding of cancer and its vulnerabilities,” Garber added. “We must capitalize on these discoveries and transform treatment for cancer patients everywhere. In addition, the value of cancer research and biomedical research to the economic health and well-being of this nation cannot be overestimated.”
For the past decade the NIH budget has remained essentially flat, and due to the rate of biomedical inflation has lost approximately $5.5 billion in purchasing power since 2003. If enacted, the president’s request would continue the downward trend that is putting lifesaving research at risk, and jeopardize the nation’s longstanding position of global leadership in science and technology.
These consequences would seemingly undermine the president’s stated commitment to scientific progress and innovation, as emphasized in his recent State of the Union Address. During the speech, the president acknowledged that basic research is essential to innovation. He specifically highlighted opportunities in cancer research by saying, “Today, the discoveries taking place in our federally-financed labs and universities could lead to new treatments that kill cancer cells but leave healthy ones untouched.”
“We are grateful for President Obama’s longstanding support for cancer research, but the fiscal year 2013 budget request is extremely concerning,” said Margaret Foti, Ph.D., M.D. (h.c.), chief executive officer of the AACR. “If we are going to continue to make significant progress, it will require a renewed commitment on the parts of President Obama and Congress to provide the NIH and National Cancer Institute with sustained funding increases.”
As the FY2013 budget debate advances, the AACR will be calling on Congress to provide the NIH with a $2 billion increase, to $33 billion.
“This level of support will ensure the future scientific advances needed to capitalize on past research investments, spur innovation and make a difference in the lives of people worldwide,” said Foti.
About the AACR
Founded in 1907, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is the world’s first and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research and its mission to prevent and cure cancer. AACR’s membership includes 34,000 laboratory, translational and clinical researchers; population scientists; other health care professionals; and cancer advocates residing in more than 90 countries. The AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise of the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, biology, diagnosis and treatment of cancer by convening more than 20 conferences and educational workshops, the largest of which is the AACR Annual Meeting with more than 18,000 attendees. In addition, the AACR publishes seven peer-reviewed scientific journals and a magazine for cancer survivors, patients and their caregivers. The AACR funds meritorious research directly as well as in cooperation with numerous cancer organizations. As the Scientific Partner of Stand Up To Cancer, the AACR provides expert peer review and scientific oversight of individual and team science grants in cancer research that have the potential for patient benefit. The AACR actively communicates with legislators and policy makers about the value of cancer research and related biomedical science in saving lives from cancer.
For more information about the AACR, visit www.AACR.org.