WASHINGTON--In an unusual budgetary maneuver, NCI director Richard Klausner, MD, has asked Congress to give the Institute an added $269.5 million in fiscal year 1998 to fund "extraordinary opportunities for new investments" in the battle against cancer.
As the request of Congress, NCI prepared a budget estimate and a description of its research needs for fiscal years 1997 and 1998. Dr. Klausner publicly released the 80-page document last month at a talk to the D.C. Science Writers Association.
In fiscal 1996, which ends Sept. 30, the NCI's budget totals $2.251 billion. The White House has asked Congress to give the institute $2.281 billion for fiscal 1997.
Dr. Klausner's budget proposal for fiscal 1998 requests $2.702 billion. This includes $2.433 billion for what he calls a "maintenance budget," aimed at keeping NCI activities at the same level, plus an additional $269.5 million for five "investment opportunities" in cancer genetics, preclinical cancer models, detection technologies, developmental diagnostics, and investigator-initiated research.
The report sets goals for each of the five targeted areas (see table).
The five "opportunity" areas emerged over the last 6 months from a series of meetings with scientists, educators, and community leaders to discuss the state of cancer research, Dr. Klausner said. "They had to be things we could describe in terms of specific milestones we can achieve and not promises we can't keep," he added.