At the opening of its Annual Meeting on April 1, 2012, in Chicago, Ill., leaders from the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) 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 National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The AACR Board of Directors also announced that it would redouble its efforts to engage with Congress to make cancer research and biomedical science funding a national priority, raise public awareness of the importance of continued investment in cancer research and biomedical science, and call on its 34,000 members and the broader advocacy community constituencies to join together to better explain the value of research to saving lives and to the economic health and well-being of our nation.
With the availability of new technological tools, cancer researchers are now able to find new and efficient ways to decipher the complexities of cancer. As a result, breakthroughs against human cancer are being discovered at an ever-increasing pace. Cancer survivors are coming together to speak with one voice about the urgency of finding new cures for patients today and for future generations. And members of Congress have no other option but to recognize that they have the responsibility to invest in the health of our citizens.
By all of us working together – scientists, survivors and patient advocates, citizen activists and legislators – we will accelerate further progress and we will defeat cancer.
Together, we can make a difference and ensure that cancer and biomedical research becomes a strong national priority. Sign-up to receive breaking news alerts and learn about opportunities to join other scientists, patients, survivors and concerned citizens in calling on Congress to provide critical funding increases for the lifesaving cancer and biomedical research supported by NIH and NCI.
Congress has just a few short weeks to work in Washington before it adjourns until after the November elections. Because the federal fiscal year ends September 30, Senate and House leaders have agreed on a six-month continuing resolution (CR) to fund the federal government through the end of March at the FY12 spending levels. This of course includes funding for agencies such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Cancer Institute (NCI).
Despite the bipartisan agreement on the continuing resolution, the outlook for funding for the NIH in FY 2013 remains unclear. While the Senate Appropriations Committee passed its version of a FY13 Labor-Health and Human Services (Labor-HHS) bill in June, which included a $100 million boost for NIH, the House Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee proposed to flat fund the agency. In addition to the threat of flat-funding in FY 2013, the possibility of sequestration (mandatory across-the-board cuts) continues to loom. Congress must reach an agreement by January 2, 2013, to avert the automatic cuts, which will be on the order of 8 percent, resulting in a cut of $2.4 billion for NIH.
A cut of $2.4 billion to the NIH would be devastating and severely impact cancer research and biomedical science. It is imperative that everyone who cares about defeating cancer speak out now and urge lawmakers not to turn their backs on the incredible scientific opportunities that are before us.
NOW is the time to invest in cancer and biomedical research; we are on the cusp of making transformative advances in the prevention, detection, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
Congress must take a balanced approach to deficit reduction and avert sequestration, lest there be serious consequences for the millions of Americans who have or will be diagnosed with this devastating disease.
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