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Cancer Policy Monitor: March 14, 2023

Regulatory Science and Science Policy Sessions at the 2023 AACR Annual Meeting

Nicholas Warren, PhD

There is still time to register to attend the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2023 in-person or virtually. This year, the Annual Meeting will take place in the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, April 14-19. In addition to presenting cutting-edge cancer research, the AACR has been hard at work organizing exciting sessions on some of today’s biggest topics in regulatory science and science policy. Please join us for these timely and impactful discussions (all times ET):

Saturday, April 15

Sunday, April 16

Monday, April 17

Tuesday, April 18

Appropriations Committees Finalize Leadership Rosters

-Matthew Gontarchick

With the 118th Congress now underway, leaders of the House and Senate Appropriations committees have finalized their rosters for key subcommittees. This includes the Labor, Health and Human Services-Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) subcommittees, which are responsible for drafting appropriations bills that determine funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI). 

In the Senate, Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) will serve as the new chair of the LHHS Subcommittee. A longtime cancer advocate, she has previously introduced legislation to reauthorize a federal program for the early detection of breast and cervical cancer. Baldwin’s Republican counterpart is Ranking Member Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), who has worked to expand research and funding for childhood cancers. She co-authored the Childhood Cancer Survivorship, Treatment, Access, and Research (STAR) Act of 2022, which was signed into law in January 2023. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) was named as chair of the full Appropriations Committee two months ago, with Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) as the vice chair.

In the House, Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL) has been tapped to lead the LHHS Subcommittee. Aderholt, whose father passed away from cancer in August 2021, has pledged a commitment to “renewed oversight and fiscal responsibility” in the upcoming appropriations cycle. Meanwhile, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), who formerly chaired the LHHS subcommittee, will now serve as the subcommittee’s ranking member. A longtime member of the Appropriations Committee, DeLauro is an ovarian cancer survivor and a leading advocate for funding biomedical research. In addition to serving as the LHHS Subcommittee’s top Democrat, DeLauro is the ranking member of the full House Appropriations Committee, while Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), will serve as the full committee’s vice chair.

Following the release of President Joe Biden’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 budget request this month, the FY 2024 appropriations process can now begin in earnest. Soon, these new subcommittee leaders will work with their fellow appropriators to draft new LHHS spending bills, which pertain to the largest pool of non-defense spending in the entire federal budget. The AACR looks forward to engaging with these appropriators to advocate for continued investment in biomedical research. 

AACR Holds Eighth Annual Early-Career Hill Day

-Matthew Gontarchick

On March 2, the AACR held its eighth annual Early-career Hill Day (ECHD), which brought together AACR associate members to advocate for increased funding for the NIH and NCI. This event is an important opportunity for early-career investigators to engage in advocacy at the federal level and educate lawmakers on the progress and promise in cancer research. The first in-person ECHD since 2020, this year’s event included 20 participants from 11 states. Participants held over 40 meetings with congressional offices, speaking with members and staff about their research and the importance of increased funding for NIH and NCI. This year, participants asked Congress to continue to prioritize medical research by providing at least $50.924 billion for NIH’s foundational work, a $3.465 billion increase over the FY 2023 program level; and support $9.988 billion for the NCI, an increase of $2.6 billion as recommended in the NCI Director’s Professional Judgment Budget.

In conjunction with the Hill Day, ECHD participants and the AACR led a National Day of Action, encouraging early-career scientists and others in the cancer research space to communicate with their members of Congress via email or social media in support of increased NIH and NCI funding. Dozens of messages and pictures were shared on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media platforms accompanied by the hashtags #AACRontheHill and #FundNIH.

The National Institutes of Health Requests Information to Improve Postdoctoral Recruitment, Retention, and Training

-Calais Prince, PhD

The biomedical research enterprise is a complex, interrelated system that is driven to produce research discoveries that advance knowledge and societal well-being. To achieve these goals, a talented scientific workforce needs to be supported with funding and other professional resources. As described in the AACR Cancer Disparities Progress Report 2022, postdoctoral scientists are foundational to supporting cancer research and innovation as they conduct the vast majority of basic and translational experiments during their training. However, postdoctoral recruitment has been disrupted as career opportunities outside of academia have become more competitive and promote financial stability.

Encouraging talented scientists to remain in academia requires utilizing a multi-level, cross-sectional approach. The NIH published a Request for Information from members of the research community to understand the current status of postdoctoral training, the challenges faced by postdoctoral researchers in academia, and actionable ways to foster recruitment and retention. Various stakeholders across academia, industry, and administrative leadership in biomedical research are encouraged to respond by April 14, 2023.


The recording is now available on-demand for this forum which explored the impact of some of the most impactful and/or promising of these advanced technologies on cancer research and explored how it is (or will) accelerate progress against this complex array of diseases we call cancer. These new technologies are often referred to as the fourth industrial revolution as these advances are revealing new targets, mechanisms, and approaches for better diagnosing cancer earlier, developing novel cancer therapeutics, and ultimately preventing cancer. View video.

Registration Open for the 2023 AACR-AACI Hill Day

The AACR and the Association of American Cancer Institutes (AACI) invite you to Capitol Hill, Thursday, May 18, 2023. This Hill Day will bring cancer center directors, researchers, physician-scientists, cancer survivors and other advocates to Capitol Hill to build support for a strong federal investment in biomedical research, and cancer research in particular, through the NIH and the NCI.

Learn more information about and register for the Hill Day.