PHILADELPHIA — Research continues to fuel significant advances against cancer. This progress has been spurred by federal investments in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Cancer Institute (NCI), according to the American Association for Cancer Research's (AACR) fourth annual Cancer Progress Report, released today.
Thanks to research, Americans today are more likely to survive a cancer diagnosis and enjoy a higher quality of life than at any other time in history.
"While we are continuing to make impressive progress against cancer, the pace of that progress is being slowed due to years of declining budgets at the NIH and NCI," said Carlos L. Arteaga, MD, president of the AACR and professor of medicine and cancer biology at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee. "If we are to fully realize the promise of science to transform cancer care, it will require leadership in Congress and within the administration to ensure that biomedical research in cancer becomes a major priority for our nation."
The AACR Cancer Progress Report 2014 is a comprehensive educational tool that chronicles the progress that has been made against cancer; details how federal investment in the NIH and NCI is transforming lives, such as the lives of the 12 individuals who shared their experiences with cancer in the report; and calls on the administration and Congress to prioritize the growth of the NIH and NCI budgets at a predictable, robust pace by providing annual budget increases at least comparable to the biomedical inflation rate.
According to the report:
- There are estimated to be nearly 14.5 million cancer survivors alive today in the United States, and almost 380,000 of these individuals received their cancer diagnoses as children or adolescents.
- Between Aug. 1, 2013, and July 31, 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved six new anticancer therapeutics and new uses for five previously approved anticancer therapeutics.
- During the same period, two imaging agents received new cancer-related FDA approvals, as did a previously approved screening test.
- Research discoveries continue to advance precision medicine: Five of the six new anticancer therapeutics are molecularly targeted agents.
- Patients with some types of cancer have three or more molecularly targeted treatment options, should their cancer recur or become resistant to the primary therapy.
- Cancer genomics research is the foundation for novel clinical trials designed to accelerate the pace at which new therapeutics are approved for patient care.
- Cancer immunotherapeutics are continuing to yield remarkable, long-lasting patient responses in several types of cancer.
Cancer: An Ongoing Challenge; Research: A Vital Investment
The report states that although extraordinary advances are being made against cancer, the disease remains a major health care challenge and a huge financial burden, both nationally and internationally.
Moreover, because most cancer diagnoses occur in those who are 65 years of age and older, a segment of the U.S. population that is expected to double by 2060, it is predicted that the number of cancer diagnoses will increase dramatically in the future.
The report emphasizes that the rising economic and personal burden of cancer underscores the urgent need for more research to develop new prevention and treatment approaches.
"Research has transformed the lives of millions of individuals," said Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc), chief executive officer of the AACR. "However, we need more progress because it is unacceptable that one American will die of cancer every minute of every day this year. Cancer survivors like the 12 courageous individuals who shared their stories in this report, as well as those who are projected to receive a cancer diagnosis in the future, are depending on our nation's policymakers to make funding for biomedical research a national priority."