It’s worse than I thought

A while back, I mentioned how the budget proposed in the President’s budget for the NIH for fiscal year 2007 was flat. It turns out that, for those of us in the field of cancer research, it’s worse than that. Making the rounds at our cancer institute is an e-mail from one of the higher-ups, which points out the following sobering facts about the budget for the National Cancer Institute (the FY 2007 proposed budget for HHS can be found here, particularly page 34):

  • The President’s budget proposal submitted to Congress will keep funding for the National Institutes of Health flat at $28.587 billion.
  • Worse, although the overall NIH budget will remain essentially flat, under the proposal, the NCI’s budget will fall by $40 million, to $4.754 billion next year.
  • This proposed cut to the NCI budget is the single largest budget cut at NIH.
  • If this cut stands, the NCI”s budget will have dropped by $72 million over the period covering fiscal year 2005 to 2007.

Thus, the NCI budget for 2007 will represent not just a failure to keep up with inflation but a real cut in actual dollars for the second year in a row.

And yet we can still manage to afford over $120 million a year to fund the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine and a $140 million increase in the budget for the Office of the Director.


  1. #1 Ali
    March 6, 2006

    It’s pretty evident the administration doesn’t believe much in science, so it’s really no surprise that they wouldn’t put an effort into funding it.

    But that doesn’t make it any less frustrating and disappointing.

  2. #2 Dianne
    March 6, 2006

    The number one cause of mortality in the US right now is cancer and they’re decreasing the budget for the NCI? Are they crazy? Sigh. Don’t bother answering that one.

  3. #3 Hank Barnes
    March 6, 2006

    Lack of $$ for cancer research, ain’t the problem, Orac. The problem is the inability (or stubborness) to properly evaluate the cause(s) of cancer, compounded by the past few decades of futile research.

    The problem ain’t viruses, oncogenes or gene mutations, for chrissake. The problem is at the chromosome level.

    Surely, you’ve heard of the journals, Cancer Research & Proceedings of National Academy of Science, no?

    Then, you should read this article in Cancer Research and then you should read this article in PNAS, both by the great Dr. Peter Duesberg, National Academy of Science.

    Hank Barnes

    p.s. This is not a defense of the Bush Administration. Yes, they are screwed up, but for other reasons, unrelating to NIH & NCI funding.

  4. #4 Dianne
    March 6, 2006

    “…compounded by the past few decades of futile research.”

    Futile research? In the 1980s 85% of women with breast cancer (all stages) died of the disease. Now the number is closer to 15%. Fifty years ago a person with Hodgkin’s disease, testicular cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, thyroid cancer, or childhood ALL inevitably died of their cancers. Now the majority survive. Progress, although lesser progress, has even been made in such areas as lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, and other unresponsive solid tumors. Overall, cancer survival rates have improved signifcantly over the past decade and past few decades. Is this progress really “futile” in your mind?

  5. #5 Hank Barnes
    March 6, 2006


    Didya read the 2 papers or not? Don’t get hysterical, jeez louise, the peanut gallery ya got here is remarkable, Orac.

    Sigh. Yes, I would like to cure breast cancer. Who wouldn’t? But, when you write:

    Overall, cancer survival rates have improved signifcantly over the past decade and past few decades. .. you’re just mouthing off propaganda. Except for stomping out cigarette smoking (a good thing), you’re sweeping statement ain’t supported by the facts.

    Now, go read the 2 papers I cited, and stop all these ridiculous tangents.

    Hank Barnes

  6. #6 bialy
    March 6, 2006

    Let me “spam” this post slightly differently.

    You *all* might try reading the piece on the proposed human cancer genome project below. Many, many others who actually know something have, and few have thought to argue with it.

    Of course that will neither stop, nor give even apuse, to you before you come with your ususal, nonsensical internet chatter.

  7. #7 Hank Barnes
    March 6, 2006


    Great commentary by Miklos on “war on cancer”! The Human Cancer Genome Project is perhaps the stupidest idea yet.

    Barnes, H.

  8. #8 Hank Barnes
    March 6, 2006


    I just finished reading your blog bio. Impressive. You are truly a cancer stud. No doubt, you must be very up to date on the peer-reviewed literature on the subject.

    That is why it is absolutely critical that you read Duesberg on cancer. If you don’t wanna be bogged down in the AIDS stuff, that’s fine (although he’s right about that too), but you gotta read his cancer research with an open mind. It solves problems that would greatly benefit you and your patients.

    Don’t take it from me, take it from Dr. Bert Vogelstein, the premier cancer researcher in America:

    “I agree with him that aneuploidy is an essential part of cancer. Dr. Duesberg continues to have a major impact on this burgeoning area of research through his careful experimental observations as well as through his thoughtful reviews and critiques of the subject. There is no question that he is a world leader in this field of investigation.”
    –Harpers, March 2006.

    This is the future of not just more endless cancer research, but actually conquering this dreaded illness, that kills 500K Americans each year.

    Give us a separate thread on your thoughts on Duesberg’s cancer work — fair critiques always welcome.

    Respectfully Yours,

    Hank Barnes

    p.s. Also, not to blow Dr. Bialy’s horn too much, but his book on Duesberg is a great resource and, although technical, can be read by a layman.

  9. #9 Joseph Hertzlinger
    March 7, 2006

    I’m sure we can arrange budget cuts for “alternative” medicine by finding some way to connect it to evolution.

    The “eat right for your blood type” diets depend on crackpot evolutionary theories, so we can start there.

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