Harkin-Specter Amendment to Stimulus Bill Significantly Boosts Funding for Cancer Research

Statement of Daniel E. Smith, president, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN)

Washington, D.C. -- February 3, 2009 -- The U.S. Senate tonight passed an amendment to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 that would further increase funding to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by $10 billion, including more than $1.3 billion specifically for cancer research at the National Cancer Institute (NCI).  Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Arlen Specter (R-PA) renewed their long-standing commitment to the cancer community today, making cancer research a top national priority by proposing the amendment.

The significant injection of research funding has the potential to not only spur progress in the fight against cancer, but also aid local economies across the country. The legislation under consideration already contains critical public health funding for improved access to care and prevention and wellness programs. 

Following is a statement on the stimulus package from Daniel E. Smith, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN):

“Federal commitment to cancer research is not just a health imperative -- it can have a positive impact on local economies as well.  Boosting the NIH budget to $10 billion per year would significantly advance the fight against life-threatening diseases such as cancer and yield tremendous dividends for local economies. NIH funds research in every state, supporting laboratories that purchase goods and services and employ technical and support staff.

“Flat-funding of NIH and the NCI over the past six years has resulted in the scaling back and elimination of promising cancer research programs.  Thanks to champions like Senators Harkin and Specter, the prospect of developing the next great breakthrough in cancer treatment could be back on the horizon.

“This additional research funding could have a direct impact on our ability to fight cancer and reduce cancer mortality, providing the necessary resources and support to cancer centers and researchers across the country to help them pursue opportunities with the greatest likelihood of positively changing how we prevent, diagnose and treat this disease.”

ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit http://www.acscan.org/ .

Alissa Havens
Phone: (202) 661-5772
Email: Alissa.Havens@cancer.org

Christina Saull
Phone: (202) 585-3250
Email: Christina.Saull@cancer.org


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