ASCO Advocates for Boosting NIH and FDA Budgets to Continue to Increase Cancer Survivability and Treatment Options

ASCO Advocates for Boosting NIH and FDA Budgets to Continue to Increase Cancer Survivability and Treatment Options

On November 20, ASCO( American Society of Clinical Oncology)  sent two letters to U.S. House and Senate Appropriations Committee members advocating for robust funding for two government agencies that have significant influence on cancer research and treatment: the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The letter from ASCO President Julie Vose, MD, MBA, FASCO, to members of both the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies leadership advocates for at least $32 billion in Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 funding for NIH and a proportional increase for the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Noting that the Budget Control Act of 2015 raised the nondefense discretionary caps by $25 billion, ASCO cited its “hope that NIH receives a significant boost along with a proportional share for NCI. A significant investment in NIH will give researchers the ability to capitalize on current scientific opportunity and develop cures for the next generation.”

The letter also stated that NIH and NCI research “has played a key role in virtually every major cancer prevention, detection, and treatment discovery. As a direct result of this research, overall cancer mortality rates have been in decline since the mid-1990s, and there are now more than 14.5 million cancer survivors living in the US. Yet, when adjusting for inflation, NIH’s budget has decreased by more than $6.5 billion since FY 2003. Do not miss this opportunity to stand up for cancer research funding.”

In the letter to leadership of both the House and Senate Subcommittees on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies, ASCO requested increased funding for FDA in the amount of $2.8 billion for the FY 2016 budget authority appropriation.

The letter from Dr. Vose cited that “There are 12 million cancer survivors alive in the U.S. today, and this number is growing in no small part because of the new treatments FDA approves. … With an estimated 1.7 million Americans diagnosed with cancer and an anticipated about 589,000 American lives lost to cancer this year, this is no time to slow the pipeline of development by underfunding the FDA.”

Additionally, Dr. Vose noted that ASCO leadership and staff have been “particularly appreciative of and impressed by the work” of the FDA’s Office of Hematology and Oncology Products, which “is responsible for making safe and effective drugs for cancer and hematologic conditions available to the American public

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