AACI Opposes President’s Budget Blueprint, Highlights Impact to Cancer Research and Patient Care

The Association of American Cancer Institutes (AACI) expressed its disapproval of President Trump’s budget blueprint, released May 23, which aims to slash nearly one-quarter of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget in Fiscal Year 2018. The proposed cut of $7.2 billion from the NIH would decimate cancer research and patient care, AACI noted, with the National Cancer Institute (NCI)—an arm of the NIH—facing a $1.2 billion reduction from the allocation included in the Fiscal Year 2017 Consolidated Appropriations Act.

AACI Executive Director Barbara Duffy Stewart, MPH asserted that cuts to the NIH are not negotiable, adding that the future of the country is at stake. Ms. Stewart stressed that a gutted federal biomedical research budget would undermine cancer centers’ ability to develop breakthrough therapies and treatments for patients, and potentially sidetrack research projects that are under review for funding.

AACI institutions house more than 20,000 scientific, clinical and public health investigators who collaborate in order to translate research findings into new approaches to preventing and treating cancer, but there is more to be done to make continued progress. These institutions are bulwarks of discovery and are largely funded by the NIH and NCI, which rely on stable and predictable federal funding to invest in groundbreaking cancer research.

On May 5 the president signed a $1 trillion budget deal that provided the NIH with $34.1 billion for Fiscal Year 2017. The White House’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget blueprint, released on May 23, proposed to reduce NIH funding to $26.9 billion and was met with criticism across the research community.

AACI joins its colleagues in the biomedical research community in urging members of Congress to reject President Trump’s proposed cuts and provide a robust federal investment to the NIH and NCI for Fiscal Year 2018 and beyond.

AACI encourages cancer center directors and other advocates to write to their members of Congress and request an investment of at least $36 billion for the NIH in Fiscal Year 2018. Here is a sample letter:

Dear Senator/Representative INSERT LAST NAME,

INSERT CANCER CENTER is grateful for your support of cancer research, particularly for providing an increase for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in the Fiscal Year 2017 omnibus. This funding level represents the amount necessary for INSERT CANCER CENTER to continue to make meaningful advances in patient care and further the scientific progress that has led to higher survival rates for our patients.

INSERT CANCER CENTER is on the cusp of groundbreaking discoveries. Federal investment in the NIH has enabled cancer centers like ours to revolutionize patient care as we continue to develop less toxic treatments that allow for better quality of life, which has contributed to the increase in survival for people diagnosed with cancer. PLEASE INSERT OTHER DISCOVERIES AT THE CANCER CENTER HERE.

Underfunding or flat-funding the NIH, threatens to deter the years of progress we have made in biomedical research, and more specifically, cancer research. Our ability to make significant, life-saving discoveries would be slowed or even halted if Congress imposes future budget cuts on the NIH.

Federally funded agencies like the NIH and NCI support our cancer center’s ability to prevent, detect and treat cancers which affect our patients- your constituents. INSERT CANCER CENTER asks that you provide the NIH with at least $36 billion in Fiscal Year 2018. Our patients depend on you.