American Association for Cancer Research



                                                                                                    MAY 2010


Organizations unite to build federal support for cancer research

The AACR recently joined with Friends of Cancer Research, the Association of American Cancer Institutes (AACI) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) to educate members of Congress about the benefits of greater federal investment in cancer research.  

Dr. William Dalton, chair of the AACR
Science Policy & Legislative Affairs, gives
opening remarks.


More than 70 participants from 24 states congregated on Capitol Hill on May 5 for the annual Hill Day event. Representatives from the four organizations attended well over 100 meetings with members of Congress and congressional aides to emphasize the importance of increased federal funding for cancer research. Specifically, lawmakers were asked to increase investment in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by at least $4.2 billion, which is equal to half of the two-year research funding provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and would bring total NIH funding to $35.2 billion in fiscal year 2011.

Daniel Smith, staff director for the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee for Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), and Jeremy Sharp, professional staff on the Senate HELP Committee for Senator Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.), were each invited to address participants and provide insight about the current political environment on the Hill.

Sharp and Smith both noted that members are feeling fatigued after the contentious battle over health care reform and are wary about the challenging budget situation for FY2011. Therefore, they urged cancer research advocates to make an especially strong effort to educate and persuade the public and Congress about the economic and lifesaving value of cancer research.

Sharp indicated that Dodd, with strong support from the cancer community, will make the effort to advance the 21st Century Cancer ALERT Act in honor of his friend, the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) who introduced the bill with Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas).

An afternoon lunch session featured an address by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), who accepted an award from all four organizations in recognition of his championship of the Access to Cancer Clinical Trials Act, which was enacted into law as a provision in the health care reform bill.  

Sen. Brown accepts an award for his leadership to improve access to cancer clinical trials.
(From left: Dr. Stanton Gerson, director, Case Comprehensive Cancer Center; Sen. Brown;
Dr. Michael Caligiuri, director, The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center;
and Dr. William Dalton)


Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.) was also honored during a reception the night before. She accepted an award in recognition of her support for cancer research and for taking the lead in drafting the House companion to the Senate ALERT Act. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), who is undergoing treatment for a form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, also attended the event and commended the organizations on their work.

Rep. Lois Capps emphasizes the
importance of cancer research advocacy.

Read more from the May Edition of the AACR Cancer Policy Monitor: