For any of us with cancer who are benefiting from state-of-the-art therapies—people like me, for example, taking an oral cancer gene inhibitor, worry is creeping in. U.S. Politics and the latest budget positions from the White House cause real concern that the flow of promising cancer research will be cut to a trickle.
Cancer Moonshot—poof!, NCI acceleration of research—poof! Pubic understanding of non-government medical research—poof! It’s all going up in smoke, undermined by a lack of understanding of how diseases that have plagued us for so long are being controlled or cured in ways never dreamed possible and that this progress cannot continue without ample funding.
Our partner, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) sees cuts in the proposed budget as “draconian.” Pharma is worried politicians have portrayed them as uniformly greedy leading to proposed regulations that will dampen their investment in new medicines. And, at the same time, changes in healthcare legislation may well make accessibility of existing treatments out of reach for millions of Americans because of lack of insurance or government support.
No matter what your politics are, if you are living with cancer, you have to wonder how the new climate of cutbacks will give you hope for the future. While I am very thankful for current therapies that help me now, I am no longer confident there will be new medicines there for me when I need them—a tragedy for devoted researchers and for patients and the people who care about them. This is the time for Congressmen to show whether they really have a heart for our health and theirs!