- Yesterday, the White House announced President Obama will ask Congress for $1 billion in the 2017 fiscal budget to fund his cancer "moonshot" research effort.
- However, some cancer groups say the amount is nowhere near what is required. Ted Okon, executive director of the Community Oncology Alliance, told Bloomberg it was "an absurdity."
- Other organizations, like the Cancer Action Network, said the money could be very helpful in utilizing data from sequencing the human genome and advancing immunotherapy.
The National Cancer Institute's (NCI) budget has been flat during Obama's presidency. A 5% increase last year was the exception. This year will see $195 million spent on the "moonshot," and the additional $755 million will be requested from Congress for fiscal 2017.
The NCI has a $5.2 billion budget for this year.
The $755 million would cover 150 grants from the National Institutes of Health for basic cancer research, each averaging $5 million, Anees Chagpar, director of Yale-New Haven's Breast Center at Smilow Cancer Hospital, told Bloomberg.
Last week, Obama signed a memorandum creating a White House Cancer Moonshot Task Force, that includes 13 agencies and will be led by Vice President Joe Biden. One of the key goals stated is "to double the rate of progress in the fight against cancer."
"It's not enough, but it's a start," Josh Earnest, White House press secretary, told reporters about the $1 billion. Although some are critical of the amount, many are welcoming it, especially since NIH's budget has been stagnant.