A Message from NCI Director Dr. Andrew C. von Eschenbach
In April, while testifying before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Senator Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) asked me an important question: What would it take to accelerate by 5 years the achievement of the 2015 goal of eliminating the suffering and death due to cancer? I want to share the National Cancer Institute's response to Senator Specter so that the cancer community can better understand what we hope to achieve and how we hope to achieve it.
You have requested information on the amount of money necessary for the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to achieve its 2015 goal by 2010. It should be noted, though, that these funding estimates for additional resources were developed without taking into consideration overall fiscal constraints and other competing priorities of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), or the rest of the Federal government over this 5-year time period. The current annual NCI budget is nearly $5 billion and the resources discussed below would be in addition to this base.
NCI has established an ambitious goal of eliminating the suffering and death due to cancer by 2015 by sustaining and integrating progress in the discovery, development, and delivery of more effective interventions based on molecular mechanisms of cancer. We estimate that expenditure of an additional $4.2 billion above the NCI base of nearly $5 billion over the next 5 years could accelerate progress. While the elimination of suffering and death due to cancer may not be fully achievable by 2010, there would be significant progress toward narrowing the gap between 2015 and 2010.
This $4.2 billion estimate reflects an additional upfront allocation of $2.5 billion to be expended over 5 years for a National Advanced Technology Initiative for cancer (NATIc) to accelerate the emerging disciplines of molecular oncology, nanotechnology, and bioinformatics for use in creating a pipeline of new personalized cancer diagnostics and therapeutics. This would also reflect an annual increase of $171 million over current base NCI levels for 5 years to deploy a modern integrated cancer clinical trials infrastructure and an annual increase of $164 million for 5 years to expand and integrate the NCI-designated Cancer Centers program from 60 existing centers to 75. In addition to resources, additional legislative authorities related to exemptions from specific parts of current procurement, grant review and processing, and licensing and patenting rules would also help speed progress toward an accelerated cancer goal. Read more