Budget Recommendation - National Cancer Institute
Building on Opportunities in Cancer Research 2016
NCI Professional Judgment Budget Recommendation
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As the promising research opportunities highlighted in this document demonstrate, the cancer research community—under the leadership of the NCI—is poised to accelerate the rate of discovery and reduce the burden of cancer in America. Achieving these important goals will require resources to support the full continuum of research sponsored by the NCI. Major advances in prevention, diagnosis, and treatment are clearly possible, but they require ample funding across a broad spectrum of science, including basic biological research.
To make rapid progress in cancer research, NCI funding must not only be strong, but also sustained. Yet, recent experience has been discouraging. Measured in inflation-adjusted dollars and excluding any one-time funding, the NCI suffered a 25 percent budget decline due to inflation during the past decade. This decrease represents a cumulative loss of $10 billion in cancer research funding since 2003. As a consequence, the NCI’s ability to exploit promising research opportunities and translate these opportunities into new cancer treatments and prevention strategies has been constrained and compromised.
The outlook for funding in the future appears equally discouraging. In the decade ahead, the NCI may experience a repeat of the budget environment that governed the past decade. Based on recent amendments to the Budget Control Act, overall spending on the federal government’s discretionary programs—which includes biomedical research—will remain flat through fiscal year 2021, when adjusted for inflation.
If this assessment proves true, and if the NCI budget faces the same constraints as other discretionary programs, then funding for cancer research at the NCI will have suffered nearly 20 years of budget stagnation. During this period, a generation of Americans will grow older, and with their advancing age comes an increased risk of developing cancer. More than 30 million Americans will likely receive a cancer diagnosis during this period, but for too many of these Americans, the research that could have led to better prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of their cancers will not have gone forward or will have advanced at a slower pace than possible, as a result of funding constraints.
The table that follows contains recommended funding increases based on the most promising opportunities identified in this document. Increased funding for these cancer research priorities represents a modest step toward restoring some of the funds that the NCI research budget lost during the fiscal erosion of the past decade.
As a measure of how modest this funding recommendation is, consider the following: If the NCI’s annual budget had kept pace with inflation in the cost of biomedical research since fiscal year 2003, NCI cancer research funding would total $6.76 billion for fiscal year 2016. Thus, the $5.75 billion recommended in the table that follows is $1 billion below the amount the NCI would have received if the budget had merely kept pace with inflation. In other words, a budget of $5.75 billion restores only 41 percent of the funding required for the NCI to recover its losses due to inflation.
A budget increase to support the priorities outlined below should not be a solitary event, however. Truly accelerating scientific discovery in ways that can significantly reduce the burden of cancer requires steady annual funding increases for research supported by the NCI. Steady and sustained budget increases will drive progress on preventing, diagnosing, and treating cancer and will measurably improve outcomes for patients with all types of cancer.
Sustained, steady budget increases will also speed progress toward a promising new era of precision medicine, in which the medical community routinely uses detailed genetic information to identify the most effective patient- and tumor-specific approaches to treat cancer. With sustained funding, the NCI can broadly advance and successfully integrate the many disciplines (including genomics, informatics, pharmacology, and cancer biology) required to achieve this era of precision medicine. With sustained investments, the NCI can alter the landscape for the practice of cancer medicine, foster standards for molecular medicine in other domains (such as infectious disease, metabolic disease, cardiovascular disease, and pediatrics), stimulate development of important new therapies within our nation’s biomedical industries, and enlarge U.S. prestige for its public health leadership and for improving outcomes for cancer patients across the globe.
|Fiscal Year 2015 Estimate||$ 4,931|
|Current Services Increase*||108|
|Fiscal Year 2016 Additional Resources||Recommended|
|Cancer Clinical Trials, including Pediatric Trials||100|
|Informatics and Computation||50|
|Research Project Grant Pool, including|
Provocative Questions Initiative &
Outstanding Investigator Awards
|Biological & Clinical Research Reagents||30|
|Prevention & Early Detection||50|
|Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research||25|
|Total Additional Resources||715|
|Total NCI||$ 5,754|
|*The estimated current services inflationary increase is based on the Biomedical Research and Development Price Index (BRDPI) for FY 2015 of 2.2 percent.|