President Biden’s Proposed Investment for Cutting Edge Medical Research Should Not Jeopardize Funding for Existing Cancer Research Enterprise

Statement by Howard A. “Skip” Burris III, MD, FACP, FASCO, Chair of the Board, Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO)
March 29, 2022

“President Biden’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 budget request includes $5 billion for the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), the proposed new biomedical research agency focused on high-risk, bold, translational research projects, which could help accelerate progress against diseases like cancer.

“While the Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) strongly believes in the stated mission of ARPA-H and its potential to innovate and expedite research, we are concerned that the Administration’s FY 2023 budget request invests in ARPA-H at the expense of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

“The President’s FY 2023 budget request includes flat funding for the NIH and a cut to the NCI. These cuts would jeopardize our nation’s existing biomedical research infrastructure and undercut ongoing efforts to advance scientific knowledge for the treatment of cancers, and other important basic and translational research. This request clearly contradicts one of the principles ASCO outlined when ARPA-H was first proposed.

“Despite NCI’s modest funding increases over the last few years, funding has not kept up with the growth of research grant applications. It is critical that the NCI’s baseline budget continues to grow to keep pace with the research needed to prevent, detect, and treat cancers.  

“We will work closely with Congress and the Administration over the coming months to ensure our nation delivers on its commitment to fully fund research and accelerate progress against cancer so that each and every patient has the best possible outcome.”