On behalf of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), we offer our sincere appreciation to members of the House of Representatives for passing the 21st Century Cures Act (Cures) on Wednesday with a bipartisan vote of 392-26. We are particularly grateful to Representatives Fred Upton and Diana DeGette for their leadership and commitment to ensuring the passage of the bill.
Cures is critical because it establishes an NIH Innovation Account, through which $1.8 billion in supplemental funding over seven years is designated for cancer research, and specifically for the National Cancer Moonshot Initiative. This targeted, multi-year funding will help support the 10 cutting-edge scientific recommendations identified by the National Cancer Moonshot Initiative Blue Ribbon Panel for realizing Vice President Joe Biden’s goal of achieving a decade’s worth of progress in the next five years.
House passage of this legislation is only the first step forward. We urge the Senate to also pass the bill. It is also vitally important that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) receive robust, sustained, and predictable funding increases through the regular appropriations process. Therefore, funds included in Cures must supplement, not supplant, the significant NIH funding increases that were proposed by both the House and Senate appropriations committees earlier this year.
We must seize on the unprecedented opportunity to accelerate the pace of our scientific efforts for the benefit of the millions of Americans and their loved ones touched by cancer. The 37,000 members of the AACR, who are laboratory researchers, physician-scientists, other health care professionals, and patient advocates, stand ready to support Congress in furthering innovation against cancer. We hope that next week’s vote in the Senate will move us closer to securing the funding required to ensure we can make the strides necessary toward eradicating cancer worldwide.