March 1, 2007

Cancer Research Could Be Affected By Cuts To NCI Funding

Cancer researchers are expressing concern that clinical studies could be impeded as a result of President Bush's proposed spending cuts to the National Cancer Institute for the second consecutive year, USA Today reports. Bush's proposed cuts could reduce the institute's 2007 budget by nearly 1%, or $36 million, to slightly more than $4.7 billion. During a recent visit to NIH, Bush said that NCI funding remains relatively high and has doubled during the past decade. He also noted an American Cancer Society report indicating that cancer deaths nationwide have dropped for the second consecutive year. However, scientists are "concerned that funding cuts could undermine that success," USA Today reports. According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, cooperative cancer groups nationwide might have to close or delay 95 trials this year -- nearly half of the trials the groups conduct annually. Allen Lichter, executive vice president of ASCO, said many of the research groups that could be affected by federal spending cuts have made key discoveries in the past, such as the therapeutic value of tamoxifin and raloxifene at preventing breast cancer. Those researchers had intended to begin the next phase of the study, which would have involved a class of drugs called aromatase inhibitors. Lichter said, "The study is approved, ready to go and it's absolutely, positively on hold." He said that Bush's cuts have "a real cost in human life," adding, "At a time when we are finally making progress, they are pulling the rug out." White House spokesperson Tony Fratto said, "We're proud of the significant investment that we have made in cancer research. We're also proud of the results showing that researchers are delivering on that investment" (Szabo, USA Today, 1/29).

"Reprinted with permission from You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation . © 2005 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

No comments: