Doctors, Lawmakers Push For More Medical Research Funding

Mar 7, 2016

This year, the National Institutes of Health received $2 billion more for medical research than in previous years, bringing its national funding to $32 billion.

But that's not enough, researchers say. 

Douglas Lowy, acting director of the National Cancer Institute, told doctors, lawmakers and cancer survivors gathered at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa Monday that it’s hard to say exactly how research is impacted by less funding.

The NIH can only fund one of every six research proposals.

Douglas Lowy is the acting director of the National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health.
Credit Daylina Miller/WUSF News

"We still run out of money long before we run out of good ideas and hypotheses that need to be tested. Therefore, we don't know what progress we've missed since we haven't funded it,” Lowy said.

Lowy said cancer funding has peaked while research gets more expensive, and that government funding is important but they need to look more into private funding sources, too.

Moffitt Cancer Center and the American Association for Cancer Research co-hosted the “Cancer Research Policy Forum: Progress, Promise and Challenges in the Era of Precision Medicine.”

A group of panelists discussed progress being made in cancer research and treatment, the importance of robust and predictable increases in funding for the National Institutes of Health, and special initiatives, such as the national cancer initiative to be led by Vice President Joe Biden, and the Administration’s Precision Medicine Initiative.

Featured Speakers included:

  • Douglas R. Lowy – M.D., National Cancer Institute (NCI) Acting Director
  • U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R) - 12th Congressional District of Florida
  • U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor - (D), 14th Congressional District of Florida
  • Alan F. List - M.D., Moffitt President & CEO
  • Thomas A. Sellers - Ph.D., M.P.H., Moffitt Center Director
  • William S. Dalton - Ph.D., M.D., M2Gen CEO, and Chair, AACR Science Policy & Government Affairs Committee
  • Jon Retzlaff - M.B.A., M.P.A., AACR Managing Director of Science Policy & Government Affairs
  • Jacqueline Smith - melanoma cancer survivor treated at Moffitt Cancer Center

--Daylina Miller is a reporter with WUSF in Tampa. WUSF is a partner with Health News Florida, which receives support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.