Funding for, and societal impact of, cancer research to be discussed during AACR press briefing

During the past few months, funding for cancer research has received some bad news. In December 2005, the President signed the final appropriations bill for fiscal year 2006, which provided $31 million less for cancer research than the year before.

This was the first hard cut since the passage of the National Cancer Act in 1971. More recently, the President announced his proposed budget for fiscal year 2007 it slashes an additional $40 million from the already reduced 2006 funding level.

As a result, the cancer research community is bracing for a major shift in the number of scientists in the field and, consequently, the speed of advances needed to prevent and cure this disease.

For example, federal funding cuts likely will deter young investigators, meaning fewer drugs for development and application in the future. Meanwhile, other nations are increasing research funding, with the likelihood that some of the top investigators in the U.S. will be drawn overseas, eroding this nation's competitive advantage in this field.

The cuts come at a time when deaths from cancer are falling for the first time in 70 years, according to recent reports from the National Center for Health Statistics. Declining death rates clearly stem from research advances in the early diagnosis and treatment of a variety of tumors. Overall, cancer survivorship has increased from 30 percent in the early 1970s to 64 percent today. The statistics are even better for those diagnosed before the age of 65, with roughly seven out of every 10 surviving their disease in this age group. But funding cuts will put a brake on future progress, resulting in fewer lives saved through research.

In a press briefing scheduled for 2:15 p.m., Tuesday, April 4 at the Washington Convention Center, leading cancer researchers and advocates will discuss the implications of funding cuts for cancer research. An economist from the University of Chicago also will reveal the results of a new study about the economic and societal impacts of improved longevity and health resulting from cancer research. The briefing will take place during the 97th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).

Invited speakers will include:

Peter Jones, Ph.D., D.Sc., president of the AACR, and Director of the University of Southern California/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Urology at the Keck School of Medicine at USC.

William G. Nelson V, M.D., Ph.D., professor of oncology, urology, pharmacology, medicine & pathology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and chairperson of the AACR Science Policy & Legislative Affairs Committee

Mary Jackson Scroggins, M.A., co-founder and president of In My Sister's Care, and member of the National Cancer Institute's Director's Consumer Liaison Group and of the Board of Directors of the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance

Julie Fleshman, J.D., M.B.A., president and CEO of PanCan

Kevin M. Murphy, Ph.D., George J. Stigler Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business

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The mission of the American Association for Cancer Research is to prevent and cure cancer. Founded in 1907, AACR is the world's oldest and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research. The membership includes more than 24,000 basic, translational, and clinical researchers; health care professionals; and cancer survivors and advocates in the United States and more than 60 other countries. AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise from the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer through high-quality scientific and educational programs. It funds innovative, meritorious research grants. The AACR Annual Meeting attracts over 16,000 participants who share the latest discoveries and developments in the field. Special Conferences throughout the year present novel data across a wide variety of topics in cancer research, treatment, and patient care. AACR publishes five major peer-reviewed journals: Cancer Research; Clinical Cancer Research; Molecular Cancer Therapeutics; Molecular Cancer Research; and Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. Its most recent publication, CR, is a magazine for cancer survivors, patient advocates, their families, physicians, and scientists. It provides a forum for sharing essential, evidence-based information and perspectives on progress in cancer research, survivorship, and advocacy.

Contact:

Warren Froelich/AACR
215/440-9300 ext. 198
froelich@aacr.org
In Washington, DC (4/1-4/5)
202/249-4004
202/249-4005 fax


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