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ASCO Calls for More Research Dollars


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http://www.oncologystat.com/home/news/A ... er_US.html

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ASCO Calls for Increased Federal Research Dollars

CHICAGO (EGMN) - Increased federal funding is critical if researchers are going to continue to make advances in cancer diagnosis and treatment, oncology leaders said at a May 30 press conference at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

The National Institutes of Health, which houses the National Cancer Institute, hasn't had an increase in its budget since fiscal year 2003. When adjusted for inflation, the flat funding actually amounts to a decrease of $500 million over the last 5 years, said Dr. Nancy Davidson, ASCO president and a professor of oncology at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore.

Dr. Davidson said her own research program in breast cancer had been affected by the stagnant federal research dollars. In addition, there have been clinical cancer research program closures in brain cancer, melanoma, sarcoma, and pediatric cancer. And there have been delays in phase II and phase III clinical trials, she said.

"Progress against cancer requires a consistent commitment over time," Dr. Davidson said.

ASCO is calling for increases to the NIH budget in FY 2009 and in future years. In an effort to raise awareness among patients and family, ASCO officials are mounting a print advertising campaign to highlight the need for increased research funding. The advertisement will begin running in USA Today on June 2. The message, Dr. Davidson said, is that research is the best tool we have in fighting cancer.

Dr. John Niederhuber, director of the National Cancer Institute, agreed that the flat funding of the NIH has real implications for research. NCI is supporting fewer clinical trials, which means fewer patients have the opportunity to participate in research. And while there are about the same number of grants being awarded to researchers, the individual grants are supporting fewer postdoctoral fellows and fewer students in the lab, he said.

The country must rededicate itself to making investments in biomedical research, Dr. Niederhuber said. In the meantime, it's essential that the budget crisis not interfere with the development of the "next generation" of oncology researchers, he said.

However, despite the belt tightening that has gone on in federal research agencies, Dr. Niederhuber said NCI has a number of cutting-edge programs underway. For example, the Specialized Programs in Research Excellence (SPORES) takes bench research to the bedside and back to the bench (http://spores.nci.nih.gov).

NCI officials also are continuing to make investments at the genetic level in an effort to better understand why certain individuals may be at risk for certain cancers. As part of a pilot phase of the Cancer Genome Atlas project (http://tcga.cancer.gov), scientists are examining the genomic changes involved in lung, glioblastoma, and ovarian cancers. These discoveries will ultimately be used to aid in cancer diagnosis, Dr. Niederhuber said.

"While the times are difficult, we still have to make progress and we have to maintain momentum," Dr. Niederhuber said.

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(Oncology Stat, Elsevier Global Medical News, ME Schneider, June 1, 2008)

Disclaimer:

The information contained in these articles may or may not be in agreement with my own opinions. They are not posted as medical advice of any kind.

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Unbelievable.

The "war" on Cancer was declared in 1971--37 years ago--and still has not been won even though 10s of millions of Americans have been killed by it.

The "war" on terrorism is only 7 years old--and still hasn't been won even though thousands of Americans have been killed by it.

But we've managed to spend more on the second war in 7 years than on the first war in 37.

Go figure.

Carole

Life is a Terminal Condition

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