Congressman Says Cancer Research Delivers Positive Humanitarian & Economic Return
Today, Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) made a visit to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Campus for a meeting with National Cancer Institute (NCI) Director Dr. Harold Varmus.
“The work taking place at the National Cancer Institute is awe inspiring and life changing,” said Congressman Higgins. “As Washington wrangles with the budgets for this year and next, responsible cuts will play a critical role however reducing our federal investment in cancer research would be a mistake counterintuitive to national efforts to grow jobs, create economic opportunity and reduce long-term health costs.”
Dr. Harold Varmus is a 1989 Nobel Prize recipient for his studies of the genetic basis of cancer. Just prior to taking the Director position he served as President of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Varmus also served as director of the National Institutes of Health from 1993-1999.
The NCI report titled The Nation’s Investment in Cancer Research: 2012 stresses the great potential that comes with funding, stating, “We reap the rewards of investments in cancer made over the past 40 years or more, even as we stake out a bold investment strategy to realize the potential we see so clearly.”
Congressman Higgins also had the opportunity to tour the NIH Clinical Center with Dr. Lee Helman, the Scientific Director for Clinical Research whose specialty is pediatric oncology. The clinical research center was built as a result of the NIH budget doubling in 1998. Today approximately 1,500 studies are in progress at the facility.
“A regular theme raised by leaders at the National Cancer Institute was the incredible contributions the researchers and doctors at Roswell Park Cancer Institute have made and continue to make in the field of cancer,” said Higgins. “These comments brought to light how Roswell, valued in Western New York for providing quality jobs and top-notch patient care, is a true national asset we are extremely fortunate to have in our backyard.”
Higgins noted that the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC), which includes America’s first cancer center Roswell Park Cancer Institute, is home to 8,500 jobs supported in part through federal funding provided through the National Institutes of Health. According to a recent BNMC update the job count is expected to grow to 12,000 jobs over the next several years.
Congressman Higgins is a member of the Congressional Cancer Caucus. More information on his advocacy for a federal commitment to cancer research is available at: http://higgins.house.gov/legislation/policy-positions/cancer-research.shtml