In this section you will learn:
• Why Congress must make funding cancer research and
biomedical science a national priority; and
• The future of the biomedical research enterprise is threatened by
sequestration and a declining research budget.
Funding Cancer Research and
Biomedical Science Drives Progress
As a direct result of past federal investments in the NIH (see sidebar on The NIH, p. 70), incredible
progress has been, and continues to be, made against cancer. These advances are the result of
dedicated efforts across all sectors of the biomedical research enterprise to continue to make research
count for patients. As a testament to this progress, the FDA approved 11 new drugs for treating cancers,
three new uses for previously approved anticancer drugs, and three new imaging technologies between
Sept. 1, 2012, and July 31, 2013 (see Table 1, p. 4).
However, continued progress is under threat, and a new level of commitment by Congress to increase
funding for the NIH will be required if we are to accelerate the pace of progress against cancer and meet
the challenges described earlier in this report.
Funding Cancer Research and Biomedical Science Saves Lives
and Boosts the Nation’s Economy
The federal government, through the NIH, is the primary investor in basic biomedical research (see
sidebar on The Virtuous Cycle of Biomedical Research, p. 9). The knowledge gained through this
research is essential to the entire biomedical science enterprise and a key driver of late-stage research,
which is predominantly funded by the private sector.
Within the NIH, the NCI is the main funder of cancer research. NIH- and NCI-funded research has driven
significant advances in our understanding of the biology of cancer and our ability to prevent, detect,
diagnose, and treat it. These advances have significantly reduced the burden of cancer and transformed
the lives of a growing number of cancer patients, including the 13. 7 million cancer survivors estimated
to be living in the United States in 2013. This remarkable progress would not have been possible without
the long-standing, bipartisan commitment of our nation’s policymakers to invest in biomedical research
through the NIH.
In addition to improving the health of the nation, investment in the NIH boosts our nation’s economy. NIH
funding supports nearly half a million jobs nationwide (180). In fact, the funding that local areas receive
has a positive ripple effect throughout those communities. NIH funding generated more than $62 billion
in economic activity in the United States in 2011 (181). As our nation continues to recover from a long
recession and a period of high unemployment, sustaining a proven economic generator is smart fiscal
In 2012, human genome
sequencing and related
activities directly and
• $65 billion in U.S.
• $31 billion toward 2012
U.S. gross domestic
• $19 billion in personal
• 152,000 jobs.