American Association for Cancer Research

Congressional Briefing: 40 Years of Progress in Cancer Research


WASHINGTON, D.C. - In advance of the Feb. 13 release of the president’s budget request and the start of the debate over fiscal year 2013 spending priorities, the AACR brought together distinguished leaders in cancer research and clinical care, patient advocates and congressional champions to illustrate the value of investment in cancer research and biomedical science.

Participants at the Feb. 2 congressional briefing offered perspectives on the opportunities and promise of personalized cancer medicine, and discussed research areas where significant progress is still needed to save more lives and greatly improve the quality of life for those living with cancer.


Geoffrey M. Wahl, Ph.D., AACR past-president and professor at The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, Calif., addresses a packed room on Capitol Hill about the value of investment in cancer research.

Funding for the NIH and NCI has been relatively stagnant for nearly a decade and is now in jeopardy for the foreseeable future, due to the concerted focus by federal policy makers to cut all spending – including key investments such as NIH and NCI.

Many of the advancements cited during the briefing can also be found in the AACR’s landmark Cancer Progress Report 2011, which captures the last four decades of scientific progress against cancer and was featured as the top story on the CBS Evening News on September 20, 2011. The report’s call to action, which was echoed at the briefing, urges Congress to provide the NIH and NCI with sustained budget increases of at least 5 percent above the biomedical inflation rate. 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.


Briefing Presentations:*

Presented by Geoffrey M. Wahl, Ph.D., The Salk Institute

Presented by Keith T. Flaherty, M.D., Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center 


* - Adobe Acrobat Reader required

Press Coverage:



Briefing cosponsor, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), embraces panelist Dr. Roslyn Meyer, a melanoma survivor from Guilford, Conn. DeLauro herself is a survivor of ovarian cancer and spoke of "the grace of God and biomedical research" for keeping her alive.

Judy Garber

Judy E. Garber, M.D., M.P.H., AACR president and director of the Center for Cancer Genetics and Prevention, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Mass., offers perspectives as a cancer physician.



Keith T. Flaherty, M.D., director of developmental therapeutics, Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Boston, Mass., speaks about therapeutic advances against melanoma.


Briefing cosponsor, Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.), calls for more bipartisan support for research, telling the audience that "friends don't let friends kill medical research."



Margaret Foti, Ph.D., M.D. (h.c.), chief executive officer of the AACR, and Keith T. Flaherty, M.D.

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