September 20, 2011 – The American Association for Cancer Research released the AACR Cancer Progress Report 2011 at 3:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Sept. 20 during a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The AACR is the world’s oldest and largest association dedicated to the acceleration of advances in cancer research for the prevention and cure of cancer.
The AACR Cancer Progress Report 2011, published 40 years after the National Cancer Act was signed into law, comes at a critical time – when decades of fundamental knowledge about cancer have led to incredible scientific and technological breakthroughs. Yet due to the relatively flat funding at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) since 2003, both the momentum gained and future progress of cancer research are now seriously threatened.
“Today, more than any time in history, cancer researchers are maximizing the impact of the fundamental discoveries made over the past 40 years and are translating them into improved patient care. Sustained funding increases for the NIH and NCI are an urgent national priority that will improve the health of Americans and strengthen America’s innovation and economy,” said AACR Immediate Past President Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Ph.D., Nobel Laureate and Morris Herzstein professor of biology and physiology at the University of California, San Francisco.
The AACR Cancer Progress Report 2011 is a call to action for the general public and for lawmakers to intensify their efforts in supporting cancer and biomedical research. Past breakthroughs have resulted in new approaches that are transforming the prevention, detection, diagnosis and treatment of cancer and are ushering in a new era of personalized cancer medicine.
At this inflection point in the field it is urgent that scientific momentum be maintained for the benefit of cancer patients and for all those who will be diagnosed with cancer in the future. Cancer and biomedical research also represents an unprecedented return on investment that can be measured not only in countless lives saved and a higher quality of life for cancer patients and survivors, but also in overall public health and economic benefit to our country.
For example, it is important to recall that the $3.8 billion in federal funds invested in the Human Genome Project from 1988 to 2003 helped drive $796 billion in economic impact and generated $244 billion in total personal income according to a 2011 report by Battelle; and many more opportunities to address the devastating consequences of cancer on our population while helping to create jobs are possible going forward.
The AACR Cancer Progress Report 2011 urges Congress to provide the NIH and NCI with sustained budget increases of at least 5 percent above the biomedical inflation rate. This level of support will ensure the future scientific advances needed to capitalize on past research investments, spur innovation, and make a difference in the lives of people worldwide.
“At this defining moment in cancer research, we hope that the AACR’s landmark Cancer Progress Report 2011 will help everyone to recognize the tremendous progress that has been made in our understanding of cancer and the enormous opportunities that now exist to stem the tide of this disease, which is diagnosed in one out of two men, and one out of three women in their lifetimes. The value of cancer research and biomedical research to the economic health and well-being of this nation cannot be overestimated,” said AACR President Judy E. Garber, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Center for Cancer Genetics and Prevention at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
The following luminaries spoke at the AACR’s press conference:
• Margaret Foti, Ph.D., M.D. (h.c.), chief executive officer of the AACR, member of the AACR Executive Committee and Board of Directors, and member of the AACR Science Policy and Legislative Affairs Committee;
• James F. Holland, M.D., professor of medicine, hematology and medical oncology at Mount Sinai Medical Center, and president of the AACR during the time of the signing of the National Cancer Act;
• Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Ph.D., 2009 Nobel Laureate, Morris Herzstein professor of biology and physiology in the department of biochemistry and biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco, and immediate past president of the AACR;
• Judy E. Garber, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Center for Cancer Genetics and Prevention at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and president of the AACR;
• Anna D. Barker, Ph.D., director of the Transformative Healthcare Networks, co-director of the Complex Adaptive Systems Initiative and professor in the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University, former deputy director of the NCI, member of the AACR Science Policy and Legislative Affairs Committee, and co-chair of the AACR Cancer Progress Report 2011;
• George F. Vande Woude, Ph.D., distinguished scientific fellow and professor in the Laboratory of Molecular Oncology at the Van Andel Institute, co-chair of the AACR Cancer Progress Report 2011, and chair of the AACR Council of Scientific Advisors;
• William S. Dalton, Ph.D., M.D., president/chief executive officer and director of the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, co-chair of the AACR Cancer Progress Report 2011, and chair of the AACR Science Policy and Legislative Affairs Committee;
• Josh Sommer, patient advocate and cancer survivor, and co-founder and executive director of the Chordoma Foundation; and
• Zora Brown, patient advocate and cancer survivor, special assistant for health at INTEGRIS Health, founder and chairperson of Cancer Awareness Program Services and the breast Cancer Resource Committee, and trustee for the AACR Foundation for the Prevention and Cure of Cancer.
For a copy of the AACR Cancer Progress Report 2011, please contact Jeremy Moore at (609) 519-0212.
The mission of the American Association for Cancer Research is to prevent and cure cancer. Founded in 1907, the AACR is the world’s oldest and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research. The membership includes 33,000 basic, translational and clinical researchers; health care professionals; and cancer survivors and advocates in the United States and more than 90 other countries. The AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise from the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer through high-quality scientific and educational programs. It funds innovative, meritorious research grants, research fellowships and career development awards. The AACR Annual Meeting attracts more than 18,000 participants who share the latest discoveries and developments in the field. Special conferences throughout the year present novel data across a wide variety of topics in cancer research, treatment and patient care. The AACR publishes seven major peer-reviewed journals: Cancer Discovery; Cancer Research; Clinical Cancer Research; Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention; Molecular Cancer Therapeutics; Molecular Cancer Research; and Cancer Prevention Research. AACR journals received 20 percent of the total number of citations given to oncology journals in 2010. The AACR also publishes Cancer Today, a magazine for cancer patients, survivors and their caregivers which provides practical knowledge and new hope for cancer survivors. A major goal of the AACR is to educate the general public and policymakers about the value of cancer research in improving public health, the vital importance of increases in sustained funding for cancer research, and the need for national policies that foster innovation and progress in the field.