Samir N. Khleif, MD, director of AACI-member GRU Cancer Center at Georgia Regents University, testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies on Tuesday, March 25. Dr. Khleif, a respected researcher and advocate in the cancer community, stressed the need for increased National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding for cancer research and the need for more funding devoted to the elimination of cancer health disparities, particularly among minority and economically disadvantaged populations. Dr. Khleif requested that the Subcommittee propose a budget of $32 billion for the NIH in FY2015, in order to keep the brightest scientists at cancer centers focused on biomedical breakthroughs. GRU Cancer Center at Georgia Regents University is focused on reducing the burden of cancer in the State of Georgia. A list of hearing witnesses can be found by visiting this link. A GRU press release about Dr. Khleif’s appearance is here.
Dr. Ronald DePinho
In budget recommendations released March 4, President Barack Obama requested an increase of less than 1% ($970 million) for the National Institutes of Health (NIH); $200 million above Fiscal Year 2014, but a funding level below that of FY12. The proposal includes $4.931 billion for the National Cancer Institute (NCI), an increase of $7.5 million (0.2 percent) over FY14.
AACI greatly appreciates the president’s ongoing strong support for biomedical research and his willingness to increase NIH funding. However, his budget proposal falls far short of the inflation rate of 2.9 percent, a figure that NIH projected last year for the Biomedical Research and Development Price Index (BRDPI) for FY15.
AACI recommends a NIH budget of $32 billion for FY15 through the Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittees, nearly $2 billion more than the president’s proposal. A flat budget for NIH, and ultimately the NCI, will only slow innovation and discovery.
Speaking last month at a meeting of the AACI Government Relations Forum at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, in Houston, center president Ronald DePinho, MD, underscored the need for increased federal funding for cancer research, noting that cancer incidence in the U.S. is projected to increase 45 percent between today and 2030.
“The major solutions for our patients will come from scientific innovations that will lead to transformation in cancer prevention, early detection and definitive cures,” Dr. DePinho said. “And our academic medical centers are the engines for such discoveries. It is critical that we vigorously support these national treasures to deal with the onslaught of people who will need cancer services.”