American Association for Cancer Research

Cancer Research Policy News & Reports

In this section, you will find summaries and external links to reports and headline news stories with implications for cancer research policy.


June 2012



For novel therapeutic agents approved between 2001 and 2010, FDA reviewed applications involving novel therapeutics more quickly, on average, than did the EMA or Health Canada, and the vast majority of these new therapeutic agents were first approved for use in the United States.


This new white paper by Boston Healthcare Associates, commissioned by PhRMA, examines significant progress in the fight against cancer in the United States. Several organizations report declines in cancer death rates and increases in survival rates for both men and women. New medicines have accounted for 50-60 percent of the increase in cancer survival rates since 1975.


This report, a follow-up to Rising Above the Gathering Storm, examines the health and competitiveness of our nation’s research universities and their strong partnership with government and industry that is critical to the nation’s prosperity and national goals.


This comprehensive survivorship report, a collaboration between the NCI and the American Cancer Society, shows that the number of Americans with a history of cancer is growing due to the aging and growth of the population, as well as improving survival rates.


The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), the independent organization created to fund comparative effectiveness research, recently released this document, intended to provide standardized guidance for research methods. It is in draft status during the current funding announcement period, but public comments on the report will be accepted beginning in July.



As we confront difficulties across the economic landscape, the one area where the U.S. can still move from strength to strength is science and technology — if we make the right decisions, according to this op-ed by Fareed Zakaria.


May 2012



Published jointly by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF) and United for Medical Research, this report shows that the United States’ leadership in the global life sciences industry is under threat due to a constant dollar decline in NIH biomedical research funding and intensifying global competition from countries such as China, Germany, Singapore, Sweden and the United Kingdom.


This new analysis lists examples of what the impact of sequestration might be and compiles quotes from heads of the agencies involved.


April 2012



This report outlines steps that agencies will take to drive the bioeconomy—economic activity powered by research and innovation in the biosciences—and details ongoing efforts across the Federal government to realize this goal.


This new report captures the proceedings of a FASEB symposium that explored the role that basic investigators play in moving research discoveries from the bench to the bedside, the factors that hamper their participation in translational research, and ways that research institutions, funding organizations, professional societies, scientific publishers, and investigators themselves can overcome these challenges.


According to this analysis, the sequestration scheduled to take effect in January 2013 would cut approximately $2.8 billion from NIH, which could translate to a reduction of 11.1 percent in funding for extramural awards. The FASEB analysis also provided a state-by-state breakdown of the impact of this scenario. 


February 2012



January 2012



The American Cancer Society projects the numbers of new cancer cases and deaths expected each year in order to estimate the contemporary cancer burden because cancer incidence and mortality data lag three to four years behind the current year.




November 2011


Federal- and state-funded research conducted at the nation’s medical schools and teaching hospitals in 2009 added nearly $45 billion to the nation’s economy, according to a new study conducted for the AAMC. In addition, the study found that medical research conducted at AAMC-member institutions supports nearly 300,000, or 1 in 500, U.S. jobs.

This report contains 13 potential comparative effectiveness research studies in oncology that were identified by leaders of the cancer community and the Friends Comparative Effectiveness Research Advisory Committee that could begin to be addressed by public and private-sector funders of research.


October 2011


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in collaboration with partners in the cancer research community and state health departments, has released a series of important articles that represents advancements in the knowledge of melanoma incidence and trends and provides the most comprehensive, state-by-state examination of the status of melanoma cancer in the United States to date.

This newly released report from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration outlines immediate steps that can be taken to drive biomedical innovation and addresses concerns about the sustainability of the medical product development pipeline, which is slowing down despite record investments in research and development.


September 2011                                                                                               


The AACR Cancer Progress Report 2011 is a comprehensive informational tool designed to illustrate the progress and promise of cancer research. We invite you to read through this document, share it with your colleagues, post the report on your website and use social media to link to it.

This annual report by Research!America finds that health research spending accounted for 5.5 percent of the $2.6 trillion the U.S. spent on health care in 2010. Health research as a percentage of health care spending has hovered around 5.5 percent since 2005, remaining essentially stagnant. 

According to this new report, the United States is still the global leader in the biomedical industry, but countries across Europe and Asia are pursuing aggressive plans to close the gap and take the high-value jobs and capital this sector creates. 

August 2011


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has released a “Strategic Plan for Regulatory Science,” calling for a sweeping modernization of the science used in developing and evaluating products. The plan provides specific details of the agency’s Regulatory Science Initiative, outlined in October 2010, and describes the agency’s intent to collaboratively enhance the process for developing and evaluating promising new products and novel materials from fields such as cell therapy, tissue engineering, genomics, personalized medicine, advanced computing and information technology.

 June 2011


A steady reduction in overall cancer death rates translates to the avoidance of about 898,000 deaths from cancer between 1990 and 2007, according to the latest statistics from the American Cancer Society. However, the report, Cancer Statistics 2011, and its companion consumer publication, Cancer Facts & Figures 2011, find that progress has not benefitted all segments of the population equally.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been portrayed by many critics as slow and inefficient compared the European Medical Association (EMA). While criticism is particularly strong in the field of cancer, this new study released by Friends of Cancer Research reveals that the FDA is approving novel anti-cancer drugs in a timely fashion and, in fact, is actually exceeding the EMA.

Two new reports from the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network measure the dramatic health and economic benefits of enacting strong tobacco control policies in the states. The reports quantify lives saved, reduction in smokers and health costs saved in each state as a result of implementing comprehensive smoke-free laws or tobacco tax increases.

 May 2011


NIH directly and indirectly supported nearly 488,000 jobs and produced $68 billion in new economic activity in 2010 alone, according to this new report.


The $3.8 billion the U.S. government invested in the Human Genome Project from 1988 to 2003 helped drive $796 billion in economic impact and generate $244 billion in total personal income, according to this study released by Battelle. In 2010 alone, the human genome sequencing projects and associated genomics research and industry activity directly and indirectly generated $67 billion in U.S. economic output and supported 310,000 jobs that produced $20 billion in personal income. 

March 2011


According to this NCI report, death rates in the United States from all cancers continued to decline between 2003 and 2007. The report also found that the overall rate of new cancer diagnoses for men and women combined decreased an average of slightly less than one percent per year for the same period.

February 2011


This new study suggests that public-sector research has had a more immediate effect on improving public health than was previously realized.

 January 2011


This paper outlines the challenges of enabling personalized medicine, as well as the policy and operational changes that would facilitate connectivity, integration, reimbursement reform and analysis of information.

December 2010


Reflecting input from industry and IT experts, privacy groups, healthcare professionals and others, this report provides specific recommendations for cultivating an information technology ecosystem that facilitates the real-time exchange of patient information.

This white paper outlines how government, nonprofit organizations and academic institutions can define new models of working with the private sector to enhance drug development efforts and bring safer, more effective drugs to the market more efficiently. 


October 2010


This report outlines a broad vision for advancing regulatory science and unleashing its potential to improve public health.


In 2009, the U.S. invested $139 billion in health research from all public and private sources, according to Research!America’s estimate. That amount represented only 5.6 percent of the $2.47 trillion overall U.S. health spending in 2009—or 5.6 cents of every health dollar—which varies no more than 0.2 percent from 2005 levels.

This report examines several scenarios to show what reducing the federal budget deficit through large spending cuts could look like. It identifies specific programs that could be targeted for cuts, including NIH research.

September 2010


This white paper features detailed proceedings and commentary from a June 18, 2010, forum hosted by Friends of Cancer Research on the future of comparative effectiveness research. 

August 2010


Dr. Harold Sox, co-chair of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) panel on comparative effectiveness research (CER), summarizes how federal agencies are spending the $1.1 billion allocated to CER through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, how CER priorities recommended by the IOM panel have fared in the agencies' funding programs and developing plans for a national CER program.

April 2010


The Institute of Medicine recommends changes that aim to transform the Cooperative Group Program into a dynamic system that effi­ciently responds to emerging scientific knowl­edge, involves broad cooperation of stakeholders and leverages evolving technologies to provide high-quality, practice-changing research.

March 2010


Ten years since the completion of the draft sequence of the human genome, this special feature assesses the first "post-genome decade."

February 2010


This series chronicles the breakthroughs and setbacks during the trial of an experimental cancer drug known as PLX4032. The articles offer a glimpse at how doctors, patients and drug developers are navigating the medical frontier of personalized medicine.



In this report, researchers from Columbia University and The City College of New York conclude that obesity is now an equal, if not greater, contributor to the burden of disease and shortening of healthy life as tobacco smoking.

January 2010


This report draws attention to America's rising obesity trends and shows that obese adults are at increased risk for many serious health conditions, including endometrial, breast, prostate and colon cancers. First Lady Michelle Obama and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius joined U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin to release this report and announce initiatives to help Americans lead healthier lives.

November 2009


In the 2009 annual report, ASCO outlines the most significant advances in cancer research over the past year, including major clinical advances in key areas such as personalized medicine and targeted therapies.

October 2009


This new report by a scientific advisory subcommittee of the American Cancer Society (ACS) clarifies the society's role in addressing the relationship between environmental pollutants and cancer risk. The report advises the public to minimize exposure to known carcinogens and calls for new strategies to more effectively and efficiently screen chemicals.