Dec. 3, 2013

Curran Urges Congress to Restore Research Funding

Walter J. Curran, Jr., MD, executive director of the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, was one of three cancer center directors to participate in a teleconference focusing on the damaging impact of federal sequestration cuts on cancer research.

The media teleconference, organized by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), urged congressional leaders to restore cancer research funding as they negotiate over the FY 2014 budget. Curran joined top officials of ACS CAN and two other cancer center directors to discuss the toll that sequester cuts are taking on groundbreaking clinical trials and cancer research projects across the country. He estimated a loss of $5 million in research funding to Winship if the sequester continues through March of 2014.

"That's less discovery that could be applied to the patients and families we serve in Georgia, as well as for unifying discoveries that really can be applied to cancer care and prevention around the world," said Curran.

ASC officials pointed out that the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute have played a major role in virtually every advance in the detection and treatment of cancer, characterizing cancer research funding as "a guaranteed return on investment."

Curran and the other directors warned that in addition to reducing the scope of current research, the funding cuts discourage young investigators and deter future generations from going into cancer research.

Other participants in the teleconference included John R. Seffrin, PhD, CEO and Christopher W. Hansen, president, of ACS CAN; Chi Van Dang, MD, PhD, director of the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania; and Thomas Sellers, PhD, MPH, director and executive vice president of Moffitt Cancer Center in Florida.

The teleconference was covered by Atlanta’s National Public Radio affiliate, WABE. Here is reporter Michelle Wirth’s story:

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