President Barack Obama announced the National Institutes of Health has awarded more than 12,000 Recovery Act grants, totaling $5 billion. This funding represents approximately half of the $10.4 billion allocated to NIH in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and will further research to treat and prevent HIV, cancer, and heart disease.
“In today’s speech, the president emphatically reiterated his commitment to supporting science and technology for biomedical research in general and for cancer in particular. President Obama is correct in saying that our leaders have not supported science adequately in the recent past. The overwhelming number of grant applications submitted in response to the stimulus funding is a clear indication that there is no shortage of good ideas in America and that with proper funding, powerful new approaches to understanding and controlling cancer can be brought to bear,” said Tyler Jacks, Ph.D., president of the AACR.
However, as important as the stimulus funding is, without sustained funding the full potential of this investment will not be realized. For example, President Obama announced the expansion of the Cancer Genome Atlas project, which will now characterize the DNA of as many as 20,000 cancer specimens involving 20 cancer types. Yet this information will only have value if we can fund the research that explains how the alterations in cancer genomes can allow us to treat the cancer more effectively or prevent it from occurring at all. The stimulus funding is indeed a windfall for the research community and it is very much appreciated, but we look to the administration to deliver on its promise to provide increased investment in biomedical research over the long term. Only in this way can we ensure that the United States remains the world’s leader in scientific breakthroughs and discovery.”
Jacks is president of the American Association for Cancer Research, director of the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the David H. Koch professor of biology at MIT, and an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Additionally, Jacks serves on the editorial board of Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, and is a member of the scientific advisory board for the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research, as well as many other advisory boards.
Obama said that the funded projects will expand the Cancer Genome Atlas project and explore environmental factors that cause cancer. “This represents the single largest boost to biomedical research in history,” said Obama. “We’re applying what scientists have learned through the Human Genome Project to understand disease. In cancer, we’re beginning to see treatments based on genetic changes that cause the disease.”
“We’re investigating new problems with powerful new tools and looking at old problems with new perspectives,” said Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., director of the National Institutes of Health.
Date: September 30, 2009
Source: American Association for Cancer Research