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House Appropriations Committee prioritizes medical research

FY 2022 budget includes $6.5 billion boost for NIH, but screening programs remain flat.

On July 15, the House Appropriations Committee approved a proposed FY 2022 spending bill that would increase funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by $6.5 billion and include a $432 million increase for the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and $194 million for the Cancer Moonshot. It also provides $3.5 billion to create the Advanced Research Project Agency on Health (ARPA-H), a new program to be established within NIH, dedicated to accelerating the pace of biomedical research for rare and difficult to treat diseases, including cancer.

The bill increases funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including a $12.5 million increase for the Office on Smoking and Health, which operates programs that help prevent youth from starting to use tobacco and helps adult tobacco users to quit. However, it leaves funding for cancer prevention programs, including for the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection program, flat. The NBCCEDP, which serves under and uninsured patients, has been chronically underfunded and is expected to see a significant increase in demand for its services in light of pandemic-related coverage loss and health care delays. The program has successfully provided lifesaving screenings to low income and underserved populations for 30 years.

A statement from Lisa Lacasse, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) follows:

Research:

 “The House proposed funding increase for NIH and NCI is exactly the kind of significant year-over-year funding increase necessary to maintain momentum toward new and improved means of preventing, detecting, and treating cancer. The number of research project grant applications sent into NCI has jumped more than 50 percent in the last five years. This extraordinary demand for resources must be met with robust federal funding to accelerate the best research possible and to save more lives.

“We are also pleased to see additional resources provided through the creation of ARPA-H. ARPA-H could quickly bridge the gap between the lab and the patient with targeted innovative therapies while simultaneously benefiting from and bolstering the bedrock research being done at NIH and the NCI. The committee’s decision to provide new funding for ARPA-H, while also providing NIH institutes and centers much needed additional resources, will ensure the best, most promising research can advance quickly.

Prevention:

 “We welcome the $150 million funding increase for the CDC’s Social Determinants of Health program, which will help collect vital data on racial and ethnic communities who often suffer disproportionate incidence of cancer. Also, the additional $12.5 million provided for the Office on Smoking and Health (OSH) will help work to prevent losing a generation of youth to tobacco, especially flavored e-cigarette use.

“However, other critical cancer prevention programs at the CDC remain underfunded. In particular the House bill does not provide the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program the funding needed to meet increased demand for delayed screenings and would continue to fall well short of being able to serve all the uninsured and under insured patients who qualify. We urge Congress to increase this important funding in the final bill.

“On behalf of the more than 1.9 million Americans who will be diagnosed with cancer this year, we look forward to working with lawmakers to pass a final appropriations bill that reflects the critical need for medical research and disease prevention across a broad range of priorities, including cancer.”


In a prepared statement, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), chair of the House Appropriations Committee, noted that:

"We must learn from the COVID-19 pandemic and rebuild our public health infrastructure while preparing for the public health crises of the future. To that end, the bill provides $1 billion for a new, flexible funding stream for public health infrastructure and capacity and an increase of $250 million for CDC’s global health efforts. It includes increases of $50 million to invest in our public health workers and provides $100 million to improve and update the way public health data is collected and utilized.

Building on the investments this Committee has made over the past six years in a bipartisan way in biomedical research, this bill increases funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by $6.5 billion— including a $3.5 billion increase for biomedical research at existing NIH institutes and centers— and to provide an across-the-board five percent increase for each Institute and Center.

To accelerate the pace of scientific breakthroughs, this bill supports the President’s request to establish the Advance Research Projects Agency for Health, or ARPA–H, which will be indispensable in achieving breakthroughs in the treatment of diseases such as diabetes, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease."

Read her full remarks here.


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