The importance of a strong federal investment in cancer research was front and center at ASCO’s congressional briefing this past month, where the Society presented Clinical Cancer Advances 2017: ASCO’s Annual Report on Progress Against Cancer. In addition to announcing the top cancer advance of the year—immunotherapy 2.0—ASCO emphasized the key role federal funding has and continues to play in making progress against cancer.
ASCO Chief Medical Officer Richard Schilsky, MD, FACP, FASCO, called on policymakers to provide sustained, annual increases in federal funding for cancer research. As ASCO has noted, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget was 20% lower in 2016 than it was a decade prior, when adjusted for inflation. Although Congress has recently boosted funding for NIH, annual increases that keep pace with inflation are critical to regain momentum after years of inadequate support and to build on the promising research results highlighted in the report.
Two members of the House Committee on Appropriations who spoke at the briefing—Representative David Joyce (OH-14) and Representative David Price (NC-04)—also stressed the importance of federal research funding.
“Investing in science and technology, I believe, will provide for robust economic growth to the United States,” said Rep. Joyce. “We need to make sure NIH and the rest of the medical community can keep up with the pace of our world and make sure that we can eliminate the diseases that exist.”
ASCO calls on the new Congress and Administration to build on its recent investments in cancer research, by providing at least $34.1 billion for the NIH in FY2017 and making research funding a priority in FY2018. Furthermore, the Society urges federal lawmakers to continue to support the 21st Century Cures Act, which was funded by a continuing resolution passed in December.
Learn more about federal cancer research funding at ASCO.org/NIHfunding, and stay tuned to ASCO in Action at ascoaction.asco.org for the latest research funding updates. Read the full Clinical Cancer Advances 2017 report at ASCO.org/CCA, and watch a recording of the congressional briefing at ASCO.org/CCA2017. ■
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