AACR Holds News Conference on President Obama's Speech to NIH
September 30, 2009
EDITOR'S NOTE: The American Association for Cancer Research hosted a news conference on September 30 at 3:00 p.m. ET. A recording of the teleconference is available at the bottom of this page.
President Barack Obama announced on Sept. 30 that the National Institutes of Health has awarded more than 12,000 Recovery Act grants, totaling $5 billion. This funding represents approximately half of the $10.4 billion allocated to NIH in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and will further research to treat and prevent HIV, cancer and heart disease.
Immediately following the announcement, the American Association for Cancer Research convened a panel to discuss the implications of the funding announcement and the challenges ahead.
Tyler Jacks, Ph.D., president of the American Association for Cancer Research, opened with the following statement:
"In today's speech, the president emphatically reiterated his commitment to supporting science and technology for biomedical research in general and for cancer in particular. President Obama is correct in saying that our leaders have not supported science adequately in the recent past. The overwhelming number of grant applications submitted in response to the stimulus funding is a clear indication that there is no shortage of good ideas in America and that with proper funding, powerful new approaches to understanding and controlling cancer can be brought to bear.
"However, as important as the stimulus funding is, without sustained funding the full potential of this investment will not be realized. For example, President Obama announced the expansion of the Cancer Genome Atlas project, which will now characterize the DNA of as many as 20,000 cancer specimens involving 20 cancer types. Yet this information will only have value if we can fund the research that explains how the alterations in cancer genomes can allow us to treat the cancer more effectively or prevent it from occurring at all. The stimulus funding is indeed a windfall for the research community and it is very much appreciated, but we look to the administration to deliver on its promise to provide increased investment in biomedical research over the long term. Only in this way can we ensure that the United States remains the world's leader in scientific breakthroughs and discovery."
Jacks is president of the American Association for Cancer Research, director of the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the David H. Koch professor of biology at MIT, and an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Additionally, Jacks serves on the editorial board of Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, and is a member of the scientific advisory board for the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research, as well as many other advisory boards.
Also on the panel were:
Rebecca Riggins, Ph.D., research assistant professor of oncology at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, who is currently working on breast cancer research under a stimulus grant.
David Bernstein, Ph.D., senior science policy analyst at the American Association for Cancer Research Washington D.C. office.
Listen to the teleconference:
Download* the mp3 of the teleconference (6.61 MB, 28 minutes and 53 seconds)
*On a PC, right mouse click on the "Download" link and select "Save link as..." in Firefox or "Save Target as..." in Internet Explorer.