ASCO Calls on Congress to Reinvest in Cancer Research

November 17, 2015

Statement by Julie M. Vose, MD, MBA, FASCO, President of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)​

“Congress will soon decide how to allocate $25 billion in additional non-defense discretionary spending for fiscal year 2016. This decision must include a bold reinvestment in cancer research that can only happen by providing the highest increase possible in funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and a proportional increase for the National Cancer Institute (NCI). At a minimum, Congress should provide no less than $32 billion to begin making up for years of inflation.

“Research funded by NIH is the basis for the most important cancer breakthroughs of our time, but years of inadequate federal funding threaten this progress. Over the past decade, federal funding for the NCI has decreased by 23 percent. We are continuing to identify unique molecular and genetic drivers of cancer and develop more effective treatments that target them, but the full promise of personalized medicine will not be achieved if our research infrastructure continues to erode.

“As our population ages, cancer is expected to become the leading cause of death in the U.S. by 2030. We cannot afford for promising research to continue to go unfunded, for new studies to be scaled back, and for fewer cancer patients have access to clinical trials. It is time for Congress to right this wrong by seizing this opportunity to provide increased funding for NIH and NCI.”

NOTE: In addition to issuing a media statement, ASCO is also running advertisements in CQ Roll Call and Politico and sending letters to U.S. House and Senate Appropriations Committee leadership calling on Congress to provide the highest possible increase in funding for NIH and NCI.