PHILADELPHIAThe proposed tobacco settlement should include support for federally funded cancer research in proportion to the devastation caused by tobacco-induced cancers on our public health, the American Association for Cancer Research said in a position statement.
The call for tobacco industry support of cancer research comes appropriately from the worlds largest and oldest organization of laboratory and clinical cancer researchers. Many of the AACRs 13,000 members have conducted the critical research studies providing definitive evidence linking smoking to lung cancer, the statement said.
Funds are needed in many areas, including research using new molecular probes to identify the specific DNA alterations associated with smoking and their role in lung cancer.
The AACR statement notes that tobacco-induced DNA changes associated with the development of cancer have now been shown to persist for many years after smoking cessation, and that lung tissue in former smokers may never return to its normal state.
Those who have stopped smoking can remain from 1.5 to 4 times more likely than nonsmokers to develop lung cancer, the statement said. In fact, over half of all lung cancers in the United States occur in former smokers. These new findings have alarming public health consequences for both current and former smokers. Clearly, the tobacco industry is culpable for all of the death and suffering from these cancers.
The AACR specifically requests that any legislation regarding the tobacco settlement ensure that the resources provided through the settlement will:
- Markedly increase the NCIs cancer research budget.
- Underwrite the patients cost of participating in clinical research trials on tobacco-related cancers.
- Supplement, not supplant, current resources provided to the National Institutes of Health and the NCI. This must be done by including a trigger mechanism to maintain the integrity of the baseline budget that is provided through direct appropriations, the Association said.