BETHESDA, MdCongress has appropriated the National Cancer Institute $2.93 billion for fiscal year 1999, which began Oct. 1, up from $2.54 billion in fiscal year 1998. The $390 million funding increase represents a raise of 15.35% for NCI.
The House and Senate increased the total NIH budget to $15.65 billion, up from $13.62 billion, a hike of $2.03 billion or 14.9%. Congress passed the appropriations several weeks after the new fiscal year began.
The NCI received 19.2% of the total NIH increase in funding. Much of NCIs additional budget will go to increase both the number and the dollar amounts of extramural research grants and to expand its clinical trials program.
President Clinton proposed increasing NIH funding by 8.7% in his proposed budget. The House then approved a hike of 9.1%, but the final appropriations figure represented a victory for Senator Arlen Specter (R-Pa), who chairs the Senate appropriations subcommittee that oversees NIHs budget. Senator Specter is a leading advocate of doubling NIHs budget over the next 5 years and he had argued throughout the year for a 15% increase for the agency.
An advocacy panel, known as the Research Task Force, has recommended quadrupling the governments spending for cancer research to $10 billion annually over the next 5 years, and had urged a doubling of the current budget.
The 164-member group said that increasing funding to $10 billion, coupled with the implementation of recommendations it has made, would reduce cancer deaths by 25% to 40% over the next 20 years and eventually save 150,000 to 225,000 lives each year in the US.
The task force was formed as part of The March, the national effort to make cancer the nations number one health priority, and co-chaired by Ellen V. Sigal, PhD, who heads Friends of Cancer Research, and Anna D. Barker, PhD, president and CEO of BIO-NOVA, Inc.