Brian Persing, MD
Brian Persing, MD, a medical oncologist and hematologist in Mobile, Alabama, and a member of ASCO, the world’s leading professional organization representing nearly 45,000 oncology professionals, testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor Health and Human Services and Education in support of increased federal funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Division of Cancer Prevention and Control. He will also advocate for robust funding of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H).
Dr. Persing will share the urgent need for greater investments in cancer prevention, detection, and treatment both to capitalize on past investments and ensure rapid progress against the disease.
“As a practicing oncologist, I have seen the impact this has on patients,” Dr. Persing testified. “A few years ago, NCI funded a trial evaluating the cancer genes of women with breast cancer to determine whether patients were likely to benefit from chemotherapy after surgery. It showed that 60% to 70% of women were considered low risk and did not require chemotherapy. One of my patients, a woman in her 40s, had breast cancer and previously would have been given chemotherapy based on the size of her tumor. Thanks to the trial, we learned she could avoid chemotherapy. She was spared significant toxicity and was able to continue a busy life caring for her two teenage children. Today, she is cancer-free and has completed her hormone therapy.”
Although the NCI is the largest funder of cancer research in the world, its funding has not kept pace with inflation, and only 14% of life-saving research grants submitted to NCI are able to be funded. With Cancer Moonshot funding ending this fiscal year, increased investment in cancer research is essential to continue to fund these multiyear grants and reach critical Moonshot goals.
ASCO is advocating for $50.9 billion in funding for NIH in fiscal year 2024, including $9.9 billion for NCI, $472 million for the CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, and at least $1.5 billion for ARPA-H.
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