Presidential Candidate Pledge

2020 Vision

As we embark on a new decade, the biomedical research community has the technology and expertise to advance translational efforts towards developing groundbreaking cancer treatments more than ever before. Making this progress not only requires the commitment of our nation’s cancer centers, but also the support of the President of the United States.

In an effort to inform the cancer centers community of the presidential candidates' policy positions, initiatives, and priorities, AACI distributed a pledge outlining priority issues to all active Democratic and Republican candidates on January 31, 2020. All responses received by February 28, 2020 have been published and additional responses will be added as they are received.

Disclaimer: Publication of candidates' responses does not constitute or imply an endorsement by AACI. The association does not endorse any presidential candidate.


A 5-Point Pledge for Eradicating Cancer

The Association of American Cancer Institutes (AACI) comprises 100 premier academic and freestanding cancer research centers in North America.

For over two decades, the cancer mortality rate in the United States has been on a steady decline. AACI
calls upon the next presidential administration, in partnership with Congress, to amplify this trend by
increasing access to comprehensive health care and prioritizing five key objectives.

Will you pledge to support the following priorities of our nation’s leading academic cancer centers?

1. Funding Lifesaving Research
Our cancer centers’ research discoveries lay the foundation for tomorrow’s cures. In partnership
with Congress, the next administration must commit to building on past successes of our
institutions, as well as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI),
through robust and sustained funding increases to support pioneering biomedical research.

Will you commit to proposing a strong federal investment to the NIH and NCI?

Grant applications to the NCI have increased by approximately 50 percent since 2013, outpacing
available funding. The increase in requests for cancer research is ten-fold greater than that of other
arms of the NIH. This indicates that there are many ambitious researchers across the U.S. — but
with such a high demand for NCI grants, only a fraction of this research is adequately funded. These
funding discrepancies are more than a decade in the making: in 2007, 20 percent of NCI applications
were funded, while in 2017, that number dropped to 12 percent. By contrast, the success rate for
research funding across the NIH is 19 percent.

Will you prioritize cancer research and support increasing the NCI payline from 10 to 15 percent,
allowing for an overall funding success rate of 18 percent?


Read Responses

2. Eliminating HPV-related Cancers
Over 33,000 cancers caused by human papillomavirus (HPV)—including oropharyngeal, cervical,
anal, vulvar, penile, and vaginal cancers—are diagnosed annually among men and women in the U.S.
alone. Through gender-neutral vaccination and evidence-based screening and treatment, the U.S. is
poised to eliminate cervical cancer by 2030, with other HPV-related cancers to follow. Our nation’s
cancer centers collaborate with local pediatric practices to educate parents on the importance of
vaccination. They also support initiatives aimed at increasing screening rates among eligible women.

Will you support evidence-based measures to reduce the incidence of HPV-related cancers,
including vaccination and screening among high-risk groups?


Read Responses

3. Implementing Evidence-based Tobacco Control and Vaping Policies
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), tobacco-related diseases, including lung cancer, are responsible for 480,000 deaths each year in the U.S. To date, there have been over 2,600 cases of e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injuries (EVALI) across all 50 states. Congress has raised the age to purchase tobacco to 21, but the widespread availability of flavored vaping and tobacco products and their popularity among young people present additional challenges.

Will you support a ban on sales of all flavored vaping and tobacco products? 

Read Responses

4. Achieving Oral Chemotherapy Parity
Today tens of thousands of cancer patients rely on an oral therapy. In fact, for many patients living with cancer, oral drugs are the only available treatment. Yet in many cases, orally-administered cancer treatments are priced significantly higher than therapy administered by IV, port, or injection. This is particularly true for patients on Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) plans. The bipartisan Cancer Drug Parity Act (H.R. 1730/S.741), would ensure that all cancer treatments are covered at the same cost-sharing for patients, no matter how they are administered.

Will you ensure that all cancer treatments are covered at the same cost-sharing for patients, regardless of site or method of administration?

Read Responses

5. Addressing Cancer Disparities
Cancer affects all population groups in the U.S., but certain socioeconomic, racial, and ethnic groups bear a disproportionate cancer burden. Simple steps toward achieving health equity across diverse demographic groups include passage of the bipartisan CLINICAL TREATMENT Act (H.R. 913), which would provide Medicaid coverage of routine care for patients receiving cancer treatment through a clinical trial.

Will you support the CLINICAL TREATMENT Act, which would ensure that people from all backgrounds have equal access to potentially lifesaving treatments?

Read Responses