Statement by ASCO President Peter Paul Yu, MD, FACP, FASCO

ASCO ( American Society of Clinical Oncology ) to Congress: Get Serious About Putting Biomedical Research Back on Track–DR. RYAN  SAYS JOIN THEM.CALL OR WRITE YOUR CONGRESSMEN AND SENATORS USOING THIS BLOG . BREAKTHROUGHS ARE FAST OUTPACING FUNDING TO KEEP THE PACE AND THE CURES AND THE LIVES SAVED ON AN UPWARD COURSE

“From 1998 to 2003, Congress showed unprecedented support for advancing medical care when it incrementally doubled the funding level for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Regrettably, stagnant funding in the years that followed has not kept pace with biomedical research inflation and is now slowing the pace of discovery.  We have made tremendous progress in the fight against cancer—largely due to the leadership of those former lawmakers—but continuous underfunding and reduction of federal biomedical research will come back to haunt us if Congress does not act now to reverse this trend and once again set the NIH on a plan for growth.

“We cannot afford to rest on our research laurels and slowly, but surely, lose ground. Even now we are seeing fewer federal research grants, declining enrollments of patients in clinical trials, and talented researchers exiting the field or leaving the United States to pursue their life’s work elsewhere. Lost ground in the fight against cancer and other life-threatening illnesses will take us decades to recover.

“As Congress decides on funding levels for NIH and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) for fiscal year 2016, we urge both House and Senate lawmakers to join in a whole-hearted, bipartisan crusade to restore federal research funding to meaningful levels.  In addition to eliminating sequestration caps, it is time to re-examine the entire funding process for biomedical research—not an unreasonable proposition when so many lives are at stake against a backdrop of spectacular breakthroughs in our understanding of the molecular underpinnings of cancer development.

“At minimum, ASCO is calling on lawmakers to support a 7.5 percent increase in NIH funding and a proportional increase for NCI to continue progress towards new treatments for cancer. The cancer community is poised to build on past research advances that will bring hope to the millions of Americans who will face a cancer diagnosis in the 21st century. But the foundation for making this vision a reality must be a national—and more importantly, Congressional—commitment to support a strong, robust federally funded U.S. research enterprise.”

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