American Association for Cancer Research

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Letter to Congress on Government Shutdown and its Effect on Medical Research


October 11, 2013

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The Honorable John Boehner      
Speaker
House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515 

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Minority Leader
House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Harry Reid
Majority Leader
United States Senate   
Washington, DC 20510
The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Minority Leader
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510











Dear Speaker Boehner, Leader Pelosi, Leader Reid, and Leader McConnell:

As the government shutdown continues through a second week, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) urges you to work together to resolve this indefensible situation, which is having an adverse effect on our nation’s premier medical research institutions—the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI)—and on the Americans whose lives depend upon the breakthrough discoveries enabled by these institutions.

NIH-funded research is the foundation on which the public health programs across the country that enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce the illness and disability suffered by all Americans are built. Each year, the AACR releases a Cancer Progress Report that highlights the extraordinary lifesaving advances that have been made against cancer as a direct result of investments made by the federal government in the NIH and NCI. As illustrated in the Report, federal investments in biomedical research are continually paying off with new ways to prevent, detect, diagnose, and treat the more than 200 diseases we call cancer, and they are contributing in a major way to the American economy. These successes have come as a result of the dedicated efforts of many individuals, agencies, and organizations. However, the linchpins that hold the stakeholders together are the NIH and NCI.

Cancer is a major threat to our nation’s citizens. With more than 580,000 Americans projected to lose their lives to cancer in 2013, much more work needs to be done in the fight against this devastating and deadly disease. Scientific discovery is the greatest source of hope for cancer patients and their loved ones. Clearly, the current government shutdown is causing enormous anxiety and hardship for millions of researchers, clinicians, and patients in America.  

On behalf of the members of the largest cancer research organization in the world, we strongly urge you to end the government shutdown and enable members of the biomedical science community to return to their workplaces and continue their research efforts to spur more progress, inspire more hope, and save more lives.

Sincerely,

Charles L. Sawyers, M.D.    
AACR President
Margaret Foti, Ph.D., M.D. (h.c.)
AACR Chief Executive Officer