MUSC Hollings Cancer Center

SC Community Leaders & Advocates Hear Case


With the National Institutes of Health Facing Budget Cuts, South Carolina Cancer Community

Urges Congress to Make Research Funding a Priority

[CHARLESTON] – The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) and MUSC Hollings Cancer Center briefed state legislators and community and business leaders today in Charleston to encourage Congress to restore federal funding for cancer research so that progress can continue against a disease that kills an estimated 1,500 people in America each day.

Earlier this year, across-the-board cuts known as sequestration took effect, resulting in a 5.1 percent cut in funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). These cuts threaten promising ongoing cancer and other medical research and will prevent new research from getting off the ground. Congress is now beginning the process to establish budget levels for next year.

“Sequestration is a mindless cut with the potential to seriously impact progress in the detection and treatment of the deadliest cancers,” said Chris Hansen, president, ACS CAN, the advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society. “The funding cuts to the National Institutes of Health will jeopardize the innovative research at local cancer centers that has resulted in the dramatic progress we have seen during the past 40 years against cancer. We need lawmakers to work in a bipartisan effort to quickly restore funding for cancer research and prevention programs and make the fight against cancer a top national priority.”

More than 80 percent of federal funding for NIH is spent on biomedical research projects at local research facilities across the country. According to NIH, nearly $24 billion funded nearly 51,000 research grants in every state and virtually every congressional district across the country last year alone. In 2012, research institutions in South Carolina received nearly $142 million in federal funding from NIH.

 “Cancer centers like Hollings are at one of the most critical junctures in the history of cancer research. The discoveries made and the technologies developed over the past 20 years are apace with our aspirations to make significant progress against this disease,” said Hollings Cancer Center Director Andrew S. Kraft, MD. “Cutting  funding disrupts promising research going on here and other research institutions around the country.” 

It takes nearly two decades on average to deliver a new drug or treatment from the lab to the doctor’s office for patient use. Cancer centers across the country depend on federal grants from agencies such as NIH as their largest source of cancer research funding. Hollings Cancer Center, for example, relied on nearly $19 million in federal grants and contracts from NIH last year.

Cancer Research Supports South Carolina Economy

Federally funded research has a positive economic impact on communities nationwide. Every dollar invested in cancer research yields more than two dollars in local economic activity.

In 2011, NIH grants yielded $62 billion in new economic activity and supported 432,000 jobs across 50 states and Washington, D.C. The sequester will result in a $1.6 billion cut in funding for NIH, meaning the agency will revert to FY 2008 spending levels and have even less purchasing power when accounting for the increased cost of medical research. It is estimated that the impact of the cuts could lead to 20,500 fewer jobs across the country and a $3.0 billion decrease in economic activity. In South Carolina, the cuts will significantly reduce research funding that helps support more than 3,500 jobs and will jeopardize the effort to find breakthroughs in the prevention, early detection and treatment of cancer.

Federal funding for medical research and cancer prevention programs has had a role in every major advance against this disease, resulting in 350 more lives saved from the disease per day than in 1991. Past federal investments have also put the scientific community on the verge of making groundbreaking new discoveries that could accelerate our progress and bring us closer to ending death and suffering from cancer.



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