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June 5, 2017

As Government-Funded Cancer Research Sags, Scientists Fear U.S. Is ‘Losing Its Edge’

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Kaiser Health News – Less and less of the research presented at a prominent cancer conference is supported by the National Institutes of Health, a development that some of the country’s top scientists see as a worrisome trend.

The number of studies fully funded by the NIH at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) — the world’s largest gathering of cancer researchers — has fallen 75 percent in the past decade, from 575 papers in 2008 to 144 this year, according to the society, which meets Friday through Tuesday in Chicago.

American researchers typically dominate the meeting’s press conferences — designed to feature the most important and newsworthy research. This year, there are 14 studies led by international scientists versus 12 led by U.S.-based research teams. That’s a big shift from just five years ago, when 15 studies in the “press program” were led by Americans versus nine by international researchers.

Several of the studies on this weekend’s press program come from Europe and Canada, along with two from China.

President Donald Trump has proposed cutting the NIH budget for 2018 from $31.8 billion to $26 billion, a decline that many worry would jeopardize the fight against cancer and other diseases. Those cuts include $1 billion less for the National Cancer Institute.

Read more at Kaiser Health News.