The National Institutes of Health (NIH) faces a significant budget reduction in January 2013 due to automatic across-the-board cuts, known as sequestration, required under the federal Budget Control Act of 2011. The estimated $2.4 billion NIH cut could result in 700 to 2,300 fewer research grants funded and fewer jobs in every state across the country. The National Cancer Institute, in particular, would face a budget cut of almost $400 million
ASCO Calls on Congress to Prevent Cuts
“Sustaining the nation’s investment in cancer research is critical to our future. We can’t afford to lose ground to a disease that touches nearly every American,” said ASCO President Sandra M. Swain, MD, Medical Director of the Washington Cancer Institute at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. “Congress must understand that cuts on the scale being discussed could significantly slow the pace of scientific discovery, hurt local economies and, most important, delay new cancer therapies for thousands of current and future patients.”
Cancer survival rates have risen steadily in recent decades, and quality of life for patients has improved dramatically. Much of this progress, detailed on ASCO’s interactive CancerProgress.Net website, is due to critical NIH-funded research.
Federal funding also plays a vital economic role by supporting research at cancer centers and universities throughout the United States. According to a recent report by U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education, and Related Agencies, every $1 in NIH funding generates $2.21 in local economic growth, and in Fiscal Year 2011, NIH-funded research supported 432,000 jobs in the United States.1 ■
1. Harkin T: Under threat: Sequestration’s impact on nondefense jobs and services. July 25, 2012. Available at http://1.usa.gov/OqaPDx. Accessed August 28, 2012.