The Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is calling on Members of Congress to continue their support for federally funded research by providing $44.7 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including $6.9 billion for the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Fiscal Year (FY) 2021. The $3 billion funding increase for NIH will help the agency continue to regain some of the ground it lost after years of effectively flat budgets so the U.S. biomedical research enterprise can continue its important work in support of new advances and cures for patients.
On February 12, ASCO joined hundreds of other members of the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research in calling on Congress to continue to make meaningful, reliable funding support for NIH a national priority. Last year, Congress passed a $2.6 billion increase for NIH and a $300 million increase for NCI.
“This most welcome renewed investment in NIH has increased the pace of biomedical research, reenergized existing and aspiring scientists nationwide, and restored hope for patients and their families,” the organizations state.
Despite the funding increase, the need for continued investment is acute, particularly for NCI, which is still only able to fund a small fraction of research proposals and grant applications each year – down from 28% of proposals funded in 1997 to 8% in 2019. While this is partially due to the increase in research proposals NCI received over the last few years, proportionally, NCI funding increases have also lagged behind with NIH’s, and neither organization’s funding has kept pace with medical inflation. The reality is that NIH and NCI’s budgets are still unable to keep up with medical innovation.
Earlier this month, the White House released its FY2021 budget request, which proposed deep cuts to the NIH and NCI. While ASCO is disappointed with the proposal to cut funding, we remain committed to continuing our work with Congress and the administration to ensure our nation builds on the tremendous progress already made in improving treatment and reducing mortality from cancer.
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