These cuts also reduce the number of patients who can enroll in NCI-funded clinical trials. Such trials are
required for promising new treatments to move forward to the next phase of development and are often
the only hope for patients with advanced cancers who have exhausted all approved treatment options.
Unless Congress takes action to find a balanced approach to deficit reduction and change the present
fiscal course, the multiyear, reduced federal spending caps mandated by sequestration will result in a
$19 billion reduction to the NIH budget by 2021. This places the entire biomedical research enterprise at
a crisis point, and the present trajectory is simply unacceptable.
Especially concerning is that these cuts to the NIH are occurring at a time when the potential for
accelerating the translation of discoveries in cancer research into progress against cancer has never
been more promising. As a result of declining budgets, the pace of discovery will slow and breakthroughs
that could have led to new therapies will be delayed.
Not only is the overall health of our nation at risk, but so too is our position as the global leader in
biomedical research and innovation. Unfortunately, the United States is reducing its investments in
biomedical research at a time when nations such as the United Kingdom, Singapore, and China are
significantly increasing theirs. For example, China has pledged to invest more than $300 billion in
biomedical research over the next five years (182). If current trends continue, in only a few years,
Chinese investment in life sciences research will be double that of the United States. To continue to make
progress against cancer and maintain our global leadership in biomedical research, the United States
must recruit, nurture, and retain a highly skilled and diverse cancer research workforce. The decline in
NIH funding for biomedical research jeopardizes our ability to accomplish this.
At a time of constrained budgets, scarce federal dollars must be invested wisely. Funding cancer
research and biomedical science through the NIH and NCI is a wise choice that will improve America’s
health and prosperity. Supporting these agencies must remain a national priority.
Sequestration will result
in a $19 billion reduction to
the NIH budget by 2021.
Life Under Sequestration
As a result of the Budget Control Act of 2011 and Congress’ failure to come to an agreement on long-term deficit
reduction, across-the-board cuts known as sequestration went into effect March 1, 2013. The cut to the National
Institutes of Health (NIH) was 5. 1 percent, or $1.6 billion, and the cut to the National Cancer Institute (NCI),
the largest NIH institute, was $293 million. Following the cut and the completion of the fiscal year (FY) 2013
appropriations bills, the budget for the NIH stands at approximately $29 billion, the lowest funding level in terms
of actual dollars in more than five years.
A cut of this magnitude has, according to NIH Director Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., adversely affected every
aspect of the agency’s work and is posing particular difficulties for scientists who are trying to start their careers
Consider the numbers: NIH
FY 2012 funding level $30.6 billion
2013 across-the-board budget cut ( 5. 1 percent) $1.6 billion
Current FY 2013 funding level $29 billion
Loss of competing grants 703
Total grants lost 1,357
Potential U.S. job losses 20,000
Expected lost economic activity $3 billion
For information on the current status of NIH funding, go to http://cancerprogressreport.org/Pages/