Between the fiscal years 2004 and 2007, NCI's budget remained relatively flat. However, factoring in the rate of biomedical inflation reveals a 12 percent loss of purchasing power over those same years. Investigators tell us that below-inflation funding often means the loss of a laboratory technician or two, a graduate student not brought into the lab, a postdoctoral fellow not hired, or research that must be scaled back to the point that scientific progress is significantly slowed and some opportunities are lost. The problem is compounded because these investigators—some of whom are turning away from biomedical science—are also the professors who nurture the careers of young scientists who will drive the future of cancer medicine.
The NCI is a unique national resource, one that can bring together the various aspects of the National Cancer Program by acting as a convener and facilitator of the public and private sectors to deliver on the promise that was made by the National Cancer Act of 1971.
Aware of the fiscal situation we face, this document is a report on progress and opportunities, as well as a plan for critical scientific growth. It details the state of our science, the extraordinary promise of today's research, and the resources we believe would allow NCI to hasten the day that the promise of personalized cancer medicine arrives. That day will also usher in a new era of cancer prevention, with new diagnostic tests that can predict the impending development of cancer long before the formation of a tumor.
The NCI is a unique national resource, one that can bring together the various aspects of the National Cancer Program by acting as a convener and facilitator of the public and private sectors to deliver on the promise that was made by the National Cancer Act of 1971. The nurturing and careful stewardship of this national resource is our shared responsibility. Cancer touches virtually every American family, and NCI is committed to research that helps us provide access to the best standard of care for all in the communities where they live and work. And it is on behalf of every cancer patient that NCI will continue its vital research, until stories about successful battles against cancer are the only ones to tell.