Rally for Medical Research
April 08, 2013 -- This is cherry blossom week in Washington, DC and as thousands converge on the city to witness those ephemeral powder puffs bloom, thousands more have come to our Capitol in hopes of effecting a more lasting blooming: restoring federal funding for medical research. Today’s Rally for Medical Research, put on by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), coincides with that organization’s annual cancer conference. The intention is to halt the slide in federal outlays to the National Institutes of Health that have occurred in recent years and accelerated under budget-cutting sequestration.
"I worry desperately this means we will lose a generation of young scientists... A lot of good science just won't be done," said Francis Collins, director of the NIH, in a recent interview with USA Today.
Today at 11 am at Mt. Vernon Square in DC, just steps from the AACR meetings where some 13,000 cancer researchers have converged to swap and share cancer research information in the hopes of cures, thousands also gathered on the Square to urge Congress to score medical research as a top national priority.
The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is one of over 200 partnering organizations supporting this important event.
What’s at stake is no less than countless lives and the health of millions.
- The budget sequester imposes an 8.2% annualized reduction on the NIH budget—5.1% of which will be a direct hit on this year’s fiscal budget.
- The National Cancer Institute’s $5.1 billion budget will be cut by approximately $200 million in FY 2013.
- These cuts will abruptly eliminate approximately 80% of funding for young investigators in their most creative years. Those scientists are a key reason the NIH has produced such a remarkable return on investment—including more than 140 Nobel prizes.
- Reductions in funding have already begun; this past Dec. the NIH shaved 10% off current grants in preparation for the sequester.
- This past week the Washington Post reported that “cancer clinics across the country have begun turning away thousands of Medicare patients, blaming the sequester budget cuts.”5
- Vital services for patients of all stripes are at stake; e.g., cuts imposed by the sequester include the elimination of services for almost 400,000 individuals in need of mental health or substance abuse services.
The Rally for Medical Research featured the following speakers:
- The Honorable Rosa L. DeLauro (D-Conn.);
- The Honorable Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.);
- Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., director of the NIH;
- Maura Tierney, breast cancer survivor and advocate, best known for her roles on NewsRadio and ER;
- The Honorable John Edward Porter, former Republican congressman from the Illinois 10th District and chair of Research!America;
- Margaret Foti, Ph.D., M.D., (h.c.), chief executive officer, the AACR;
- Frank McCormick, Ph.D., president, the AACR and director, the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center;
- Marc Tessier-Lavigne, Ph.D., president, The Rockefeller University, and former chief scientific officer, Genentech Inc.;
- Regan Hoffman, HIV survivor and advocate;
- Brian Boucher, advocate and father of a leukemia survivor;
- Gina Gavlak, type I diabetes survivor and advocate;
- Juddson Rupp, heart disease and cardiac arrest survivor and advocate;
- Melanie Nix, breast cancer survivor and advocate;
- Amy Edmunds, stroke survivor and advocate; and
- Gee Gerke, Alzheimer’s disease advocate and caregiver.
For the Rally’s complete list of sponsors and partnering organizations, please visit www.rallyformedicalresearch.org.
To follow the Rally on Twitter at #RallyMedRes.
For more information about the Rally, please visit www.rallyformedicalresearch.org.