Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex) is supporting a bill that would authorize the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to increase research on blood cancers, particularly leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma. The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee approved the bill (S. 1094/H.R. 2629) after making some changes on November 1.
At press time, it seems likely that Congress will pass the bill before its 2001 session ends. One change the Senate committee made was removing its specific $250 million a year research spending target. The bill now essentially encourages the NCI to spend more. However, figures provided by the NCI show it spent $238.8 million on those three cancers in fiscal 2000, the latest year for which figures are available.
Senate staffers believe the figure is considerably less because the NCI sometimes "double counts" research projects, ie, puts them into more than one spending category. Blood cancers account for 11% of all cancer deaths, or 60,300 persons annually. An estimated 109,500 people in the United States will be diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma in 2001.