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Cancer Policy Monitor: April 11, 2023

2023 AACR Annual Meeting Regulatory Science and Science Policy Sessions

This Friday is the start of the 2023 American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting that will run through Wednesday, April 19. The AACR Annual Meeting brings together experts from around the world to share the latest breakthroughs in cancer research and care. Additionally, the regulatory science and science policy tracks offer interactive discussions on important policies facing cancer research, prevention, and care with federal officials. You will not want to miss these timely and impactful discussions!

Saturday, April 15

Sunday, April 16

Monday, April 17

Tuesday, April 18

Celebrating 25 Years: AACR Scientist↔Survivor Program®

The AACR Annual Meeting 2023 marks the 25th anniversary of the AACR Annual Meeting Scientist↔Survivor Program®. This premiere educational program connects thousands of patient advocates and scientists from around the world. Join us in celebrating the accomplishments of our SSP community.

Learn more. Details on the Advocacy Programs during the AACR Annual Meeting.

Fiscal Year 2024 Budget Is Released

-Matthew Gontarchick

On March 9, the Biden Administration released its FY 2024 budget request, which calls for a $2.9 billion reauthorization of the 21st Century Cures Act Cancer Moonshot through 2026, including a $500 million increase for the NCI in FY 2024.  As the goal of the reignited Cancer Moonshot is to cut cancer mortality in half in the next 25 years, the budget also proposes increased investments to boost cancer screening and awareness, including an increase of $121.5 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s cancer-related programs. In addition, to accelerate translational progress in fighting diseases such as cancer, the budget also requests $2.5 billion in funding for the Advanced Research Projects for Health (ARPA-H), a $1 billion increase from FY 2023 appropriated levels for the new biomedical research agency. 

While NCI would receive the plurality of increases across Institutes and Centers at NIH under the Biden administration plan, NIH’s foundational work would receive $48.265 billion, an $811 million or 1.7% increase for NIH over FY 2023 funding levels.   

The release of a president’s budget is the start of the budget and appropriations process each year, but the budget is just a suggestion. It will be up to Congress to determine funding levels for federal agencies and activities. The AACR will continue to work with our champions in Congress to build on vital funding increases for NIH in FY 2023 and support NCI’s professional judgment budget for FY 2023, which recommends a total funding level of $9.988 billion.

Contact your legislators and ask them to prioritize cancer research with a robust increase for the NCI for FY 2024.

AACR President Submits Testimony to House Appropriations Subcommittee Calling for Robust Investments in Medical Research at NIH and NCI

-Matthew Gontarchick

The AACR is actively engaged with Congress in support of increased investments for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Cancer Institute (NCI) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2024. In March, AACR President Lisa M. Coussens, PhD, FAACR, FAIO, provided testimony for the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies in support of at least $50.924 billion for NIH and $9.988 billion for the NCI in FY 2024.

Dr. Coussens highlighted the role of cancer research in the significant reductions in cancer mortality observed over the last three decades and called on Congress to prioritize medical research investments in the FY 2024 appropriations process. Additionally, Dr. Coussens highlighted how investments in medical research investments contributed to the science underlying 210 drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) over a six-year period, including 84 first-in-class drugs. She also noted that NIH funding is being used to develop personalized medicine and immunotherapies that seek to offer individualized therapies for patients.

Dr. Coussens also raised the importance of medical research to the national economy and raised the consequences of underinvestment in medical research. She stated that due to increased interest in cancer research and substantial increase in grant applications, nearly seven out of eight research grant applications submitted to NCI are not able to be funded. This low proportion of successful applications harms patients and imperils the careers of early-stage researchers who may feel compelled to choose other, more financially stable careers.

Read Dr. Coussens’ testimony. The AACR will continue to advocate for additional investments in the NIH and NCI to increase pay lines and grow the field of cancer research.

Reminder: Register Today for the 2023 AACR-AACI Hill Day

Registration is now open for the AACR and the Association of American Cancer Institutes’ (AACI) Hill Day on May 18, 2023. This Hill Day provides an important opportunity for cancer center directors, researchers, physician-scientists, cancer survivors and other advocates to come to Washington, D.C., to urge legislators to support enhanced federal investment in biomedical research through the NIH and the NCI. 

Learn more information about and register for the Hill Day.

Menthol E-Cigarette Marketing Denial Orders Set to Protect Youth from Nicotine Addiction

Calais Prince, PhD

Cooling flavors in e-cigarettes, such as menthol and synthetic cooling-fruit hybrids, are a large share of the e-cigarette market in the United States. Between 2017 and 2021, sales of these products increased by 700 percent. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) has the authority, under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009, to regulate tobacco product manufacturing, marketing, and distribution. Before a new tobacco product is introduced to the U.S. market, a manufacturer must submit a marketing product application to the FDA. Manufacturers cannot legally market or distribute new tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, unless the FDA evaluates Premarket Tobacco Product Applications (PMTAs) and conclude that the product is “appropriate for the protection of the public health.”  

On March 17, the FDA issued Marketing Denial Orders (MDOs) for two additional, currently available menthol e-cigarette products. This is significant as results from the 2022 National Youth Tobacco Survey indicate that menthol and synthetic cooling-fruit hybrid flavors are appealing and contribute to an uptake in the use of e-cigarettes in middle and high school students. As described in the AACR Cancer Progress Report 2022, e-cigarettes substantially increase the risk for nicotine addiction and tobacco product use in a new generation as they are incredibly popular among youth and young adult populations. This has the potential to unravel the decades of public health interventions that prevent tobacco-related diseases and death. Additionally, considerable research has shown that menthol in combustible tobacco products masks harsh flavors, increases the number of nicotine receptors in the brain, enhances the addictive qualities of nicotine, and makes withdrawal symptoms worse for the user. CTP has presently determined that 99% of 26 million submitted tobacco product applications do not support public health efforts. These latest MDOs demonstrate that FDA CTP Director Dr. Brian King, is committed to science-driven tobacco control policy. To hear more about the intentional efforts to reduce tobacco-related harms, be sure to attend Dr. King’s session at the AACR Annual Meeting 2023 titled “FDA Center for Tobacco Products’ Priorities to Address Tobacco Use and Support the Cancer Moonshot.”

Learn more about in-person and virtual registration details.