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Cancer Policy Monitor: July 12, 2022

The American Association for Cancer Research and the Association of American Cancer Institutes Advocate Before Congress for Increased Cancer Research Funding

Marc B. Johnson, MPP

On June 15, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and the Association of American Cancer Institutes (AACI) partnered for a virtual joint Hill Day to advocate for the importance of increased funding for medical research.  Nearly 70 participants from 23 states, consisting of leadership of the AACR and AACI, cancer center directors, researchers, and advocates met with congressional offices to advocate for $49.1 billion in base funding for National Institutes of Health (NIH), an increase of $4.1 billion, and $7.766 billion for National Cancer Institute (NCI), an increase of $853 million, the recommended funding level in the NCI’s Professional Judgment Budget Proposal. AACR President Lisa M. Coussens, PhD, FAACR, represented the AACR in meetings with the offices of senior appropriators, including House Appropriations Chair Rosa DeLauro, Senate Appropriations Chair Patty Murray, and Senate Appropriations Ranking Member Roy Blunt, to highlight the urgent need for increased funding for cancer research. 

The joint Hill Day preceded the release of the  House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies funding bill for FY 2023. The bill would provide $47.5 billion for NIH, an increase of $2.5 billion. Of the total provided for NIH, $7.4 billion would be provided for NCI, an increase of $466 million, which includes $216 million for the Cancer Moonshot. The bill would also provide $2.75 billion for the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), an increase of $1.75 billion. The House bill would place ARPA-H within the Department of Health and Human Services rather than under the authority of the NIH. On June 30, the House Appropriations Committee held a full committee markup to debate and amend the legislation. The bill will now move to the House of Representatives for a vote.

Register for the Rally for Medical Research!

Marc B. Johnson, MPP

The 10th Annual Rally for Medical Research will be held September 13-14, 2022, in Washington, D.C. The rally brings together advocates from around the country to call upon the nation’s policymakers to make funding for the NIH a national priority and bring attention to the importance of stable and robust investments in medical research. A participant training and reception will be held September 13, followed by the Rally Hill Day on September 14 in which participants will meet with congressional representatives. 

Register for the rally. Please contact [email protected] with any questions.

FDA Removes JUUL E-Cigarettes from the Market

Nicholas Warren, PhD

In 2020, e-cigarette manufacturers were required to submit premarket tobacco product applications (PMTAs) to prove to the United States (U.S.) Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that their products were “appropriate for the protection of public health.” The responsibility to provide sufficient scientific evidence to meet that standard is squarely on the e-cigarette manufacturers. Nearly 6.7 million e-cigarette PMTAs were submitted to FDA by the 2020 deadline, and FDA has reached decisions on 99 percent of the applications. This June, FDA concluded JUUL’s PMTAs failed to prove the products were beneficial for public health, thus making those e-cigarettes illegal to sell. The AACR announced support for this decision in a press release. However, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia granted JUUL a temporary reprieve and will allow its products to remain on the market during the appeals process.

Between 2017 and 2019, JUUL e-cigarettes increased from 40 percent of the e-cigarette market to 75 percent. During that same time frame, the number of U.S. youth estimated to have used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days by the National Youth Tobacco Survey more than doubled from 2.12 million in 2017 to 5.38 million in 2019. JUUL sales to youth were heavily supported by predatory advertising on youth-oriented websites and via social media influencers. Additionally, JUUL e-cigarettes came in a variety of flavors appealing to youth, until FDA prohibited most flavors in cartridge-based e-cigarettes in early 2020. This explosive growth of e-cigarettes halted decades of steady declines in youth tobacco use.

While e-cigarettes emit fewer carcinogens than combustible tobacco products, they still expose users to toxic chemicals that can damage DNA and cause inflammation. Furthermore, nicotine itself increases blood pressure, weakens the immune system, and harms memory and learning. E-cigarette use is also significantly associated with trying combustible cigarettes.

E-cigarette companies have billed their products as devices to help adults quit smoking cigarettes, but limited and conflicting evidence has been generated regarding the accuracy of these claims. However, there are currently several forms of evidence-based smoking cessation therapies that improve the chances of successfully quitting tobacco. These include nicotine replacement therapies, varenicline, and counseling. No e-cigarette manufacturer has filed an Investigational New Drug application with the FDA in order to set up clinical trials to support the use of e-cigarettes as nicotine replacement therapies.

Separately in June, FDA also announced it would soon propose a new tobacco product standard that would limit the amount of nicotine in combustible tobacco products in order to minimize their addictiveness. If finalized, this rule could save millions of lives from tobacco related illness.

The AACR and its members have been instrumental in helping build the evidence base of the harms of tobacco products and advocating for effective tobacco control policies. The AACR will continue these efforts until all cancers caused by tobacco are eliminated.

Chemicals in Personal Care Products Linked to Breast Cancer Cell Viability, Growth, and Migration

Calais S. Prince, PhD

In the U.S., breast cancer is the most common cancer in Black women. Alarmingly, Black women are 40 percent more likely to die from breast cancer despite having overall lower breast cancer incidence rates when compared to non-Hispanic White women. The underlying reasons for these differences in diagnosis and survival are multifactorial and may relate to structural inequalities, cancer diagnosis at a more advanced stage of breast cancer that often have more limited treatment options, higher prevalence of aggressive breast cancer subtypes, and possible exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). For example, parabens are commonly used preservatives in hair and personal care products. Recent evidence indicates that parabens may act as EDCs, mimicking estrogen and impacting breast cancer cell growth, death, and migration. Many of these initial studies were conducted using breast cancer cell lines from women of European ancestry. The first study to describe the impact of methylparaben (MP), propylparaben (PP), and butylparaben (BP) on breast cancer cell lines from women of European and West African ancestry was discussed in June 2022. Parabens, specifically BP and PP, were found to promote breast cancer cell survival and migration in the cell line from women of West African ancestry. The collaborative efforts involved in conducting this study also addressed community concerns as many personal and hair care products marketed to Black women contribute to increased product use and paraben exposure

As highlighted in the AACR Cancer Disparities Progress Report 2022, eliminating cancer disparities requires a collaborative federal government approach and inclusion of community-based organizations, state and local government stakeholders, and the private sector. Currently, FDA does not have rules that apply to preservatives in cosmetics. Actions can be taken against cosmetics on the market if there are reliable scientific data showing that the product is harmful. Investigating the impact of EDC exposure on breast cancer cell lines from diverse ancestries can provide the evidence needed to promote health policies and regulations that seek to achieve cancer health equity. More research will be necessary to fully evaluate the relationship between these chemicals and breast cancer.

Apply to the Third Class of FDA-AACR Oncology Educational Fellows

Nicholas Warren, PhD

The AACR-FDA Oncology Educational Fellowship is designed to help cancer researchers and clinicians learn about the regulatory processes and drug development and network with leaders at FDA and AACR. The one-year program is primarily conducted virtually with fellows at their home institutions with didactic lectures, group discussions, and homework assignments. Topics covered by the program will include Investigational New Drug Applications (INDs), New Drug Applications/Biologics License Applications (NDAs/BLAs), expedited pathways, animal studies, clinical pharmacology, statistics, clinical trial design, companion diagnostics, biomarkers, and precision oncology.

To be eligible, applicants must:

  • Be a member of the AACR
  • Have completed an advanced degree (e.g. MD, PhD, DO, etc.)
  • Started their current position within the past five years

For additional information and to apply, please visit the Fellowship Webpage. All application materials must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. ET August 15, 2022.


Thanks to advances in diagnosis and treatment, more people than ever are surviving cancer. In 1971, when the National Cancer Act took effect, there were approximately 3 million cancer survivors in the United States. Today, there are more than 18 million, and that number is projected to top 20 million by 2040.

As the number of cancer survivors grows, and many people live decades beyond their illness, cancer survivorship is gaining attention as an important and understudied area of research. This was the topic of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Patient Advocate Forum on the Science of Survivorship, and the AACR Cancer Catalyst blog, As More Cancer Patients Survive Their Disease, Long-term Effects Alter Lives. Registration is now open to watch this forum on demand.


Join us at the 15th AACR Conference on The Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved. This conference advances the understanding of, and ultimately helps to eliminate, the disparities that represent a major public health problem. Reflecting this transdisciplinary field, professionals from academia, industry, government, and the community are brought together to promote the exchange of novel ideas, discuss the latest findings in the field, and stimulate the development of new research on cancer health disparities.

Patient advocates are encouraged to attend this important event. For additional information about patient advocate events at the cancer health disparities conference, please visit the AACR patient advocacy webpages. Email [email protected] if you have any questions.


Tuesday, August 23, 2022; 1 – 3:30 p.m. ET/ 10 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. PT

Join the cancer advocacy community Tuesday, August 23, at 1 pm ET, for a free virtual AACR Patient Advocate Forum on Cancer Biomarkers. Each person’s cancer has a unique pattern of biomarkers, making biomarker testing a critical part of diagnostics and treatment. This forum will explore where and how biomarkers are changing cancer research and care to benefit patients with cancer. To learn more about the AACR Patient Advocate Forums and register for this forum, please visit the AACR patient advocacy webpages.