ASCO Issues Statement That Debt Ceiling Deal Could Harm Cancer Research Efforts
The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is warning that the debt ceiling deal reached by the US Congress includes flat funding for non-defense discretionary spending in FY 2024 and a 1% funding increase in FY 2025. According to ASCO, this would considerably restrict potential resources for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Cancer Institute (NCI) at a time when scientists are on the cusp of so many promising cancer discoveries.
A statement from the Association of Clinical Oncology Board Chair, Lori J. Pierce, MD, FASTRO, FASCO, follows:
“We call on lawmakers to keep cancer patients, doctors, and the entire cancer research community at the forefront as they soon begin the difficult work of determining how to allocate resources under this deal.
“Capping domestic spending at current levels and allowing only a 1% increase in 2025, could deal a significant blow to cancer research and slow the pace and progress necessary to advance medical science and save more lives from the disease.
"Currently, NCI can only fund one out of every seven grant applications it receives. As inflation erodes total resources, flat funding will mean even less research is conducted and that will translate to fewer new discoveries to prevent, detect and treat a disease that more than 1.9 million people in America will be diagnosed with this year alone.
“In the past, Congress has made strong bipartisan investments in cancer research and the results have been remarkable. There are now a record 18 million American cancer survivors alive today and cancer mortality rates have declined by 33% since 1991. But past success does not guarantee future progress. We need sustained year-over-year increases in research funding, especially if we are going to achieve the National Cancer Plan and Cancer Moonshot goal of reducing the cancer death rate by half in the next 25 years.
“Stagnant NIH and NCI funding also risks discouraging young researchers from going into or continuing their careers in medical research and that will jeopardize decades of possible breakthroughs and weaken the United States’ status as a leader of medical research and innovation.
“We understand lawmakers must make difficult budgetary decisions, but investing in cancer research should remain a top bipartisan priority; the risks of doing otherwise are simply too high and the potential loss of life too devastating to consider.”
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