(ChemotherapyAdvisor) – The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) has called on the US Congress and the Administration to provide “an unwavering commitment” to invest in biomedical research and “respectfully” urged that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Cancer Institute be designated top national priorities by receiving annual budget increases at least comparable to the biomedical inflation rate.

The AACR Cancer Progress Report 2012, released at a press event on September 12 and simultaneously published in Clinical Cancer Research, includes “inspiring stories of courage that…should serve as a catalyst for strengthening our nation’s resolve to eradicate cancer as a major threat to American lives,” said Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc), AACR Chief Executive Officer. The 96-page report highlights 12 survivors of cancer and parents of a child who died of neuroblastoma.

“We are now in a new era of personalized cancer medicine. There are more than 13.7 million cancer survivors in the United States alone because of the progress that has been made in the prevention, detection, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer,” said AACR President Frank McCormick, PhD, director of the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and Steering Committee Chair for the AACR Cancer Progress Report 2012. “Any further reduction in funding for cancer research and biomedical science would result in a major setback in our ability to develop even more effective interventions and save lives from cancer.”

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If Congress does not act to prevent sequestration, created in the Budget Control Act of 2011 to force the government to address the federal budget deficit, the cancer research and biomedical sciences enterprise are at great risk, AACR reported. For the past decade, the NIH budget has remained essentially flat, effectively losing more than $6 billion, or nearly 20% of its ability to support research. If sequestration is allowed to occur, NIH would be forced to absorb an 8% budget cut on January 2, 2013, potentially resulting in the loss of $2.4 billion and the awarding of 2,300 fewer grants.

Citing “exciting research progress and scientific opportunities ahead,” the report includes treatment advances approved by the US Food and Drug Administration within the past year, including a new drug for precancerous lesions; eight new anticancer agents, of which two are first-in-class; and four new uses of previously approved drugs, one of which is an alternative regimen to reduce adverse events.

Link to report