American Association for Cancer Research

AACR Press Releases

AACR President to Testify on Importance of NIH and NCI Funding Before Senate Cancer Coalition


June 18, 2012

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — AACR President Frank McCormick, Ph.D., F.R.S., D.Sc. (hon.), will serve on a top-tier panel of expert witnesses tomorrow, June 19, when the Senate Cancer Coalition convenes a congressional forum, “Preventing and Treating Breast Cancer in the 21st Century: Seeking the Right Treatment at the Right Time.”
 
This forum, the first public event since 2003, will be held at 10 a.m. ET in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 562, and will focus on cutting-edge cancer research and specifically explore advances in the treatment, prevention and detection of breast cancer. Congressional forum panelists will discuss the development of more personalized approaches to breast cancer as scientists continue to make progress in understanding the causes of the most common form of cancer in women.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to testify before the Senate Cancer Coalition about the progress we have made in saving lives from cancer. These advances have been made possible through federal support for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI),” said McCormick, director of the University of California, San Francisco Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. “However, there is now widespread, well-founded fear that the current budget crisis is jeopardizing our ability to take advantage of today’s unprecedented scientific opportunities to accelerate and strengthen our nation’s efforts against this disease, which still takes the lives of more than 1,500 Americans every day.”

A little over two months ago at the AACR Annual Meeting 2012 held in Chicago, Ill., the AACR Board of Directors declared that the ability of cancer researchers to bring the promise of science to improve the outcomes for cancer patients is in peril due to a decade of declining budgets at the NIH. For the past decade, the NIH budget has remained essentially flat, and when factoring in the rate of biomedical inflation, the agency has lost about $6 billion in purchasing power — nearly 20 percent of the NIH budget. As a result, the chances that a researcher will be awarded a NIH grant are now at all-time lows.

Senate Cancer Coalition Co-chairs Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) are working to revitalize the coalition, which was established in 1995 by Feinstein and former Senator Connie Mack (R-Fla.) to provide their Senate colleagues with the opportunity to explore cancer research, prevention, detection, treatment and survivorship issues with leading scientists, physicians, other health care professionals and patients. It also offers senators who do not serve on relevant committees of jurisdiction the opportunity to hear testimony on important cancer-related issues.

“We are very grateful for the work of Senators Feinstein and Hutchison in revitalizing this important coalition, especially during this period of profound excitement in cancer research and biomedical science,” said Margaret Foti, Ph.D., M.D. (h.c.), chief executive officer of the AACR. “And, we appreciate the opportunity to underscore the fact that federal investment in the NIH is a sage strategy that will pay off in lives saved, improvements in public health, continued innovation and economic growth. Millions of Americans are waiting for better treatments and more cures, and they are depending on our nation’s leaders to make investments in cancer research and biomedical science a national priority.”   

Other witnesses participating in the panel include: Zora Brown, a three-time cancer survivor, whose story was featured in the AACR Cancer Progress Report 2011; Barbara Wold, Ph.D., advisor to the NCI director on Cancer Genomics Research; Leslie Bernstein, Ph.D., professor and director of cancer etiology in the department of population sciences at Beckman Research Institute and the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center; and Ana Maria Gonzalez-Angulo, M.D., M.Sc., associate professor of medicine in the departments of breast medical oncology and systems biology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

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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 annually convening more than 20 conferences and educational workshops, the largest of which is the AACR Annual Meeting with more than 17,000 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, grants administration and scientific oversight of individual and team science grants in cancer research that have the potential for near-term patient benefit. The AACR actively communicates with legislators and policymakers 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.

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