Over the last fifty years, research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Cancer Institute (NCI) has played a role in every major advancement related to cancer prevention, detection, and treatment, and contributed to breakthroughs for many other diseases.
Virtually every American has been touched by cancer, and voters in the United States overwhelmingly support greater investment in cancer research.
In recent years, there has been an uptick in bipartisan congressional support for increased investment in biomedical research. ASCO is extremely grateful for the $2.5 billion increase for the NIH in fiscal year (FY) 2023. This strong commitment to scientific discovery will help the research community continue its current momentum and sustain our nation’s position as the world leader in biomedical research.
The NCI is the largest funder of cancer research in the world, with most of its funding directly supporting research at NCI and at cancer centers, hospitals, community clinics, and universities across the country. However, despite recent progress and strong public support for cancer research, funding for NCI has not kept pace with research opportunities. In 2021, NCI could only fund 11% of viable applications, compared to 28% in 1997. Even after accounting for an influx of funding provided through the Cancer Moonshot, NCI’s budget has not kept up with scientific opportunities. Low success rates for grant applications make it challenging to attract and retain talented cancer researchers, and this means we’re missing out on possible new treatments.
The Beau Biden Cancer Moonshot Initiative has provided a much-needed, albeit temporary, predictable annual increase in funding for the NCI. In its seven years, it has initiated many new clinical trial networks and established an infrastructure to conduct cancer research and share resources on a massive scale. However, funding for the Moonshot will expire on September 30, 2023. Additional, sustained investments are required beyond FY 2023 to build on the infrastructure created by the Cancer Moonshot.
In 2022, the Biden Administration established the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health, or ARPA-H. This new agency is housed under NIH and is tasked with focusing on high-risk, high-reward, translational research. ASCO has supported the creation of ARPA-H, developing a set of guiding principles for the new agency. In the FY 2023 budget, Congress provided $1.5 billion in funding to assist with creating the agency.
The Association for Clinical Oncology will continue to advocate for funding for the NIH, NCI, and ARPA-H to maintain the pace of scientific discovery and continue progress against cancer.
- Read about the impact of federal funding in cancer research in “Setting the Pace of Progress: U.S. Investment in Cancer Research Saves Lives.”
- Visit our Cancer Progress Timeline – recently updated to highlight advances supported by federally funded research. This data-rich, interactive resource provides a historical overview of major advances in cancer research and care spanning 170 years.
Federally Funded Research Badge Download
ASCO has created a badge to highlight research that has received federal funding. This badge is featured in the Cancer Progress Timeline and Clinical Cancer Advances reports.
Free use of badge with the following tagline: "The Federally Funded Research logo is a trademark of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Used with permission. For more information, visit the Federally Funded Cancer Research homepage."
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- National Cancer Institute: NCI’s Role in Cancer Research. https://www.cancer.gov/research/nci-role
- From humble beginnings to success in the clinic: Chimeric antigen receptor-modified T-cells and implications for immunotherapy. Experimental Biology and Medicine 2015; 240: 1087–1098.
- Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. CAR T Cells: Timeline of Progress. https://www.mskcc.org/timeline/car-t-timeline-progress
- National Cancer Institute: Olaratumab Approved to Treat Advanced Soft Tissue Sarcoma. https://www.cancer.gov/news-events/cancer-currents-blog/2016/fda-olaratumab-sarcoma
- National Cancer Institute: 2015-2016 SPORE Advances. https://trp.cancer.gov/spore_advances/default.htm
- FDA: Drug Approval Process. https://www.fda.gov/downloads/drugs/resourcesforyou/consumers/ucm284393.pdf
- National Cancer Institute: Less Chemotherapy May Be Best Choice for Some Patients with Colon Cancer, Study Shows. https://www.cancer.gov/news-events/cancer-currents-blog/2017/adjuvant-chemo-colorectal
- National Cancer Institute: National Lung Screening Trial. https://www.cancer.gov/types/lung/research/nlst
- Food and Drug Administration: Development & Approval Process (Drugs). https://www.fda.gov/drugs/developmentapprovalprocess/