ASCO Praises Congress for Continuing to Invest in Federal Research

Statement by ASCO President Monica M. Bertagnolli, MD, FACS, FASCO
For immediate release
September 27, 2018

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Melissa Lee
(571) 483-1661

Alexandria, Va. —  ASCO applauds Congress for passing a $2 billion increase in funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which will bring NIH's budget to a total of $39.1 billion and the National Cancer Institute's to a total of $6.147 billion.

We are grateful for the strong Congressional leadership and bipartisan support of federal funding for biomedical research that made passage of this appropriations bill a reality. We especially applaud the tireless efforts and leadership of House and Senate "Labor-H" Appropriations Subcommittees Chairmen Tom Cole (R-OK) and Roy Blunt (R-MO), Ranking Members Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Patty Murray (D-WA), Appropriations Committee Chairs Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) and Richard Shelby (R-AL), and full Committee Ranking Members Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT). Today marks the first time in two decades that the Labor-H bill has passed through Congress prior to the end of the current fiscal year.

Over the past five decades, our nation's investment in research to better understand, prevent, diagnose, and treat cancer has paid huge dividends. Thanks to funding for the NIH and NCI, millions more Americans are surviving cancer. In the United States, a record 15.5 survivors of cancer are alive today—more than five times the number of survivors alive in 1971. 

People are not only living longer, but they're living better, with higher quality of life and fewer side effects. Federal research funding has also brought about a revolution in our understanding of cancer, generating more precise and effective treatments increasingly targeted to each person's tumor type, genetics, immune response, and treatment tolerance.

But our work is far from over, and as long as cancer continues to be the life-threatening burden it is today, our nation must continue to prioritize investment in cancer research. ASCO is hopeful that today's vote represents a promising future of renewed focus on federally funded cancer research and urges Congress to make a longstanding commitment to support scientific discovery as lawmakers begin to look at the coming year's budget process.

About ASCO: 

Founded in 1964, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is committed to making a world of difference in cancer care. As the world's leading organization of its kind, ASCO represents nearly 45,000 oncology professionals who care for people living with cancer. Through research, education, and promotion of the highest-quality patient care, ASCO works to conquer cancer and create a world where cancer is prevented or cured, and every survivor is healthy. ASCO is supported by its affiliate organization, the Conquer Cancer Foundation. Learn more at ASCO.org, explore patient education resources at Cancer.Net, and follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and YouTube. Visit ascoaction.asco.org for the latest cancer policy developments. For an overview of current policy issues, read ASCO's cancer policy issue briefs.