Archive for April 2014
By: Bethanie Morrison
This past week the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) was held in San Diego, California. An estimated 18,000 international researchers, patient advocates, and other professionals in the cancer field were scheduled to be in attendance, making this meeting the premier cancer research event of the year. In addition to presentations of the most exciting basic, translational and clinical research discoveries, the AACR always includes sessions on health, science and regulatory policy. The first of these sessions on the schedule was titled, “NIH and NCI Funding: How the AACR and Our Partners are Taking a Stand against the Decades-long Decline in Federal Funding for Research and Development.” Based on the fact that 80% of the annual NIH budget supports research done at universities and other research institutions, one might expect that a session talking about a decline in federal funding for NIH would draw a significant percentage of meeting goers to attend. Unfortunately this was not the case. Out of the 18,000 projected to be in attendance, and the good majority of them being funded by NIH/NCI, only 40 people showed interest in what is being done to slow or even reverse the decline in federally funded research.
By: Jennifer Plank
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the largest medical research agency in the United States. Historically, funding for the NIH has received bipartisan support, which was clearly illustrated by the efforts of the 105th Congress in 1997. Senate Republicans proposed that the NIH budget be doubled by the year 2003. This initiative received bipartisan support in both the House and Senate, resulting in a budget increase from $15.6 billion to $27.2 billion1. Additionally, a bipartisan letter authored by House members Susan Davis (D-CA), David McKinley (R-WV), Andre Carson (D-IN), and Peter King (R-NY) requesting $32 billion (representing an inflation adjustment and a 1% increase) for the NIH in FY2015 was signed by 24 Republican and many Democrat Representatives. However, bipartisan support does not always translate to actual budget appropriations. For the decade following “the doubling,” the NIH budget remained relatively flat, and when adjusted for inflation, the spending power of the NIH has dramatically decreased2. Unfortunately, 22 of the 24 Republicans, including Peter King, co-author of the letter requesting an NIH budget increase, voted for Representative Paul Ryan’s budget, which would cut the NIH budget by 1/3 by FY20243.