Cancer research must be shielded from political budget wrangling

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Sen. Bob Casey is right on target with his call to prevent new sequestration cuts to medical research ("Sen. Casey: Congress Cannot Allow Budget Fight to Affect Medical Research," Oct. 26). The local impact of the budget reductions on research, patient health and the economy is multiplied many-fold across the country.

The Association of American Cancer Institutes represents the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and 91 other cancer centers nationwide that rely on federal funding, largely through the National Institutes of Health, in their search for cancer cures. Sequestration has cut $1.6 billion from the NIH budget in fiscal year 2013, leading to 2,300 fewer NIH grants, the loss of 20,500 American jobs and a $3 billion reduction in economic activity. This is only the beginning. Cuts will continue through 2021 if Congress does not reverse sequestration.

On Tuesday U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, following in the footsteps of Sen. Edward Kennedy, called for a nonpartisan effort to double NIH funding and to assure long-term funding to shield cancer research from political budget wrangling. AACI and its members strongly back Sen. Casey and Sen. Warren's enlightened support of cancer patients and their families.

BARBARA DUFFY STEWART
Executive Director
Association of American Cancer Institutes
Oakland


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