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Getting Closer to Controlling Cancer Requires Funding More Laboratories and Commitment Beyond Two Years of New Stimulus, Weiner and Berg Assert in Denver Post Oped
Date:4/18/2009

WASHINGTON and DENVER, April 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- "Getting closer to controlling cancer" requires funding more laboratories and a commitment beyond the two years of the new federal stimulus, say former White House Drug Policy spokesman Robert Weiner and a George Washington University Medical Center breast cancer laboratory director, Dr. Patricia Berg, in an oped in today's Denver Post.

Weiner, Berg, and former government analyst Paulette Garthoff, who has a family member who is a breast cancer survivor, point out that "cancer still killed 565,000 Americans last year. Although the death rate has declined two percent a year since 1999, 1,500 Americans a day still die from the disease -- cancer is the nation's number-two killer behind heart disease."

Weiner and Berg assert, "The federal stimulus legislation signed by President Obama is creating a sense of excitement for the 17,000 scientists attending the American Association for Cancer Research 100th annual meeting under way in Denver, but only a small portion of the new $1.2 billion -- $100-200 million -- goes to innovative research by small laboratories for 'challenge' grants. That is where the excitement begins to unravel a bit because less than 10 percent of grant applications for small laboratories making novel discoveries are expected to be approved."

"In addition, Stimulus money provides a useful two-year increase -- and NIH insiders are concerned about what happens after that. Research must not end in two years."

According to Weiner and Berg, "From discovering genes activated in breast and prostate cancer, to finding drugs to suppress cancers, to creating new diagnostic tools to locate and prevent the spread of the disease, the basic scientist's mission is a major part of the progress that has reduced cancer mortality rates significantly between 1990 and 2004, avoiding more than a half million deaths."

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SOURCE Robert Weiner Associates
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