United States Capitol

Big Step for Research Funding
It was a show of bipartisan cooperation not seen for seven years.  Only Senator voted against a plan that includes the second major increase for cancer research in two years.  The U. S. Senate Appropriations Committee this week passed a health spending plan that budgets the National Cancer Institute (NCI) a little more than $5.4 billion.  That’s an increase of $216 million or 4.1 percent from this year’s funding. The NCI funds cancer research within government and at cancer research centers around the nation.

The budget agreement also increases funding for the President’s Precision Medicine Initiative by $100 million, bringing the total budget for that project to $300 million. Precision medicine is transforming the future of cancer care in the United States.

No Moonshot Funds
But funding for the Cancer Moonshot Initiative led by Vice President Joe Biden is not included in the Appropriations bill passed this week.  The proposal to give the National Institutes of Health $680 million in 2017 to carry out the proposed moonshot was not part of the budget plan passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee.  It is possible that the Moonshot funding will be added later in the legislative process.

Research Increases Critical after Years of Decline
In the meantime, it is critical that we work hard to secure the increases passed by the Senate committee this week.  The proposed increase would represent the second year of major increases for cancer research funding.  This growth brings opportunities not seen for nearly a decade of flat or reduced funding for cancer research.  When accounting for inflation, the NCI budget was reduced by about 25% from 2003 until 2015.

You can Make a Difference
Committee passage in the Senate is an important first step, but these budget plans have a long way to go before becoming reality.  If you want to support increased federal cancer research funding, become an ECAN Advocate – we will help you make your voice heard!