Now that Congress is back in session, the Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is urging lawmakers to continue their bipartisan support for federal cancer research in Fiscal Year (FY) 2024. This funding is vital for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Cancer Institute (NCI) and other agencies in their work to advance science.
Sustainable funding is especially important for newer initiatives such as the National Cancer Plan, a 2023 proposal to accelerate scientific progress against the disease, maximize the potential of discovery, and achieve the goal of the Cancer Moonshot initiative to “end cancer as we know it.”
“Cancer research improves patient outcomes and saves lives,” said Everett E. Vokes, MD, FASCO, Chair of the Board, Association for Clinical Oncology. “There are a record 17 million cancer survivors in the United States today due, in large part, to federal investment in cancer research. Our past investments have yielded remarkable results and we urge Congress to continue its strong support.”
For FY 2024, ASCO is asking Congress to provide $51 billion for the NIH, $9.988 billion for the NCI, and to designate $1.5 billion for ARPA-H. Join ASCO and urge your lawmakers to support cancer research. To send a letter directly to your members of Congress, visit the ACT Network.
Earlier this year, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed an FY 2024 bill that included slight funding increases for all these programs, but the House has yet to pass its version of the bill.
The Senate version of the bill included:
- NIH: $47.8 billion, an increase of $943 million. There was also $407 million included for the 21st Century Cures Act and $678 million in emergency funding to restore a scheduled cut to Cures funding in FY 2024.
- NCI: $7.38 billion, an increase of $60 million. This number includes emergency funding to maintain funds that had been dedicated to the Cancer Moonshot.
- ARPA-H: $1.5 billion. This funds the program through September 26, 2026, and aligns with ASCO's funding request.
In addition to Senate Appropriations Committee increasing funding for NIH and NCI, the committee also approved funding for the following ASCO-supported programs and initiatives:
- Full funding for the Childhood Cancer Data Initiative and Childhood Cancer STAR Act.
- Flat funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control.
- $12 million for a new palliative care research program within the NIH.
According to report language, the committee also considered funding requests for tobacco cessation programs. This includes commending NCI for launching the Cancer Center Cessation Initiative and encouraged the agency to provide input on Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality efforts to develop model tobacco cessation programs for cancer patients in rural hospitals to improve health outcomes. Regarding the Youth Tobacco Cessation Research program, the committee encouraged the NIH to continue to support research on effective tobacco cessation modalities for youth under age 18 and asked for the NIH to consider research recommendations published by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.
Regarding the topic of drug shortages, the committee urged the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response and the Food and Drug Administration to prioritize the identification of upstream pharmaceutical supply chain risks to reduce medicine supply disruptions. The committee also encourages the agencies to identify opportunities to support the development of capabilities to produce essential medicines in the United States.
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