Advocates rally to protect federal funding of cancer research

The White House released a 2018 budget outline on March 14, 2017 that cuts National Institutes of Health (NIH) spending by nearly 20 percent. NorCal CarciNET shares the concern expressed by other cancer-related organizations and our collaborators that a funding decrease of this magnitude could disrupt, even derail, America’s cancer investigators and research institutions. These cut will amount to nearly $100 million shortfall to UCSF and Stanford only according to the San Francico Chronicle. These cut include a nearly $1.2 billion dollar cut for the NIH in FY2017.

FASEB Infograph

NIH funding critical
More than 80 percent of the $32 billion NIH budget is awarded to universities, medical schools and other research institutions through a competitive grant process. NIH grants often comprise a significant portion of an institution’s or individual investigator’s funding.

Who would fill the gap?
Since the Cancer Act of 1971, NIH has led the fight against cancer and it again set its sights on curing cancer in 2016 with the Moonshot initiative. Breast, lung, and other cancers with higher incidence rates than NETs are more commonly funded, nevertheless, important NIH-funded research is underway.

The Neuroendocrine Tumor Research Foundation (NETRF) funds research at the nation’s top cancer centers where NIH funding shortfalls could imperil the very teams working on thier projects. In 2015, University of Iowa received a 5-year, $10.67 million NIH grant to study neuroendocrine tumors. As a Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant through the National Cancer Institute (NCI), it was the first of its kind to investigate NETs.

Even when NIH funding isn’t directly supporting NET research, critical advancements filter down.

  • Research on genomic sequencing has helped identify mutations associated with NETs.
  • Research on immunotherapy has been applied to NETs.
  • Advances in nuclear medicine and molecular imaging have helped improve treatment of NETs.

Make your voice heard
The NET community has a specific perspective. Individuals with this type of cancer endure considerable frustration and disappointment. Years go by without an accurate diagnosis. Symptoms are misinterpreted. Warning signs are missed. Cancer grows and spreads during the search for answers. For advanced cases, treatment options are limited. Research can help to diagnose and treat NETs with greater speed and precision. Share your thoughts on the importance of preserving our nation’s current commitment to NIH research with your friends, colleagues, and elected officials today.

Take action
The NorCal CarciNET Community Board is proud to join in efforts underway by foundations and medical societies (NETRF, SNMMI, FASEB) to make our concerns heard. NorCal CarciNET Community has signed on as a coalition member of The Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research.   You can also make the need for NET research known. There is much work to be done. We still don’t understand the causes of NET cancer. Treatments proven effective in other cancer types have not stopped NETs from progressing. We need to find successful cures. Scientific and clinical research can ask and answer these important questions. Make sure your voice is heard.