NCI and NIH Budget Increases
Recommended at Senate Hearing
U.S. Senator Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) asked National Cancer Institute (NCI) Director Dr. Andrew C. von Eschenbach to provide an estimate of how much additional money NCI would need in order to accelerate reaching its goal of eliminating suffering and death from cancer 5 years earlier than the current target date. Sen. Specter posed the question in his role as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), and Education during an April 6 hearing on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget for fiscal year 2006. In addition to his role on the subcommittee, Sen. Specter said that his question also came from his perspective as a cancer survivor currently in treatment for Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Sen. Specter was joined by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), ranking minority member on the subcommittee, in recommending substantial increases to the Administration's budget request of $28.8 billion for NIH in FY 2006. That request includes $4.8 billion for NCI, a $16.5 million increase over FY 2005. Recently, the two Senators were instrumental in amending the Senate budget resolution to include a $1.5 billion increase for NIH in FY 2006, compared with the $144 million increase in the Administration's request. "What further progress could be made with the additional $1.5 billion increase provided by the Senate budget resolution?" Sen. Specter asked all of the NIH Institute directors at the hearing. Dr. von Eschenbach responded that the increased funding could significantly accelerate research progress. Read more
caBIG - Celebrating Successes, Looking Ahead
Today I was privileged to open the annual meeting of the cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid (caBIG), a remarkable initiative that is linking cancer communities with the information and tools they need.
It's hard to believe, but since caBIG's creation, the initiative has already attracted more than 600 individual contributors - including 8 patient advocates - and launched over 24 new products and bioinformatics tools along with multiple datasets. (For a list of caBIG contributors and their first-generation tools, see the program's Web site at http://cabig.nci.nih.gov.)
In the March 15 special issue of the NCI Cancer Bulletin about the NCI-designated Cancer Centers, I noted how impressed I've been with the Centers' eagerness to work closely with NCI on caBIG. Most of the Cancer Centers are taking part in the development of a clinical research component of caBIG, which I believe will be a revolutionary tool in accelerating the pace and efficiency of cancer research. We truly couldn't do it without them. Read more