White House Budget Blueprint Would Devastate Cancer Research and Patient Care

The Association of American Cancer Institutes (AACI) strongly rejects President Trump’s budget blueprint which aims to slash nearly one-quarter of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget in Fiscal Year 2018.

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Plans to cut nearly $7.2 billion from the NIH would decimate cancer research and patient care, with the National Cancer Institute (NCI)—an arm of the NIH—facing a $1 billion reduction from the $5.389 billion allocation included in the Fiscal Year 2017 Consolidated Appropriations Act.

Maintaining federal funding for cancer research at current levels “is not negotiable”, said AACI Executive Director Barbara Duffy Stewart, MPH. “We cannot afford to make deals on public health and people’s lives. The country’s future is at stake.”

Earlier this month, Congress passed and the president signed a $1 trillion budget deal that provided the NIH with $34.1 billion for Fiscal Year 2017. The White House’s FY 2018 budget blueprint, released today, reduces NIH spending to $26.9 billion.

“Publicly funded cancer research has accelerated the pace at which progress against cancer is being made at academic cancer centers,” AACI’s Stewart said. “A gutted federal biomedical research budget would undermine their ability to develop breakthrough therapies and treatments for patients, and potentially sidetrack research projects that are under review for funding.”

AACI institutions house more than 20,000 scientific, clinical and public health investigators who collaborate in order to translate research findings into new approaches to preventing and treating cancer, but there is more to be done to make continued progress. These institutions are bulwarks of discovery and are largely funded by the NIH and NCI, which rely on stable and predictable federal funding to invest in groundbreaking cancer research.

On May 4, AACI cancer center directors, administrators, researchers, patient advocates, and cancer survivors met with legislators on Capitol Hill, requesting that Congress provide at least $36 billion for the NIH in Fiscal Year 2018.  AACI joins its colleagues in the biomedical research community in urging members of Congress to reject President Trump’s proposed cuts and provide a robust federal investment to the NIH and NCI for FY 2018 and beyond.

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