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Study finds that radiation oncology research is critically underfunded by NIH
Date:5/29/2013

Radiation oncology research received 197 grants, totaling only 1.6 percent ($85.5 million) of the $5.4 billion in cancer research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Fiscal Year (FY) 2013, according to a study available online and in the June 1, 2013, print issue of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics (Red Journal), the official scientific journal of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO).

The study reviewed the more than 50,000 grants funded by the NIH, totaling $30.9 billion. Investigation revealed 952 active individual grants in the fields of diagnostic radiology and radiation oncology at the start of FY 2013; the NIH database does not discriminate between the two departments. Additionally, study authors conducted a manual identification process of proposals from radiation oncology departments, yielding 197 grants in radiation oncology. Of the 197 grants in radiation oncology, 79.2 percent (156) were in the field of radiation oncology biology; 13.2 percent (26) were in the field of medical physics as it relates to radiation oncology; and only 7.6 percent (15) were clinical investigations of radiation oncology treatment. Forty-three academic institutions were represented in the total 197 studies, with 141 grants in year 1‒5 of their funding cycle, and 56 awards in funding year 6‒25.

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education lists 87 academic programs in radiation oncology in the U.S., yet only 49.4 percent have an active research program supported by NIH grants. Academic radiation oncology departments attract the highest percentage of MD/PhD graduates into its residency programs, representing the top tier of medical school graduates. Data from the 2011 National Resident Matching Program report indicates that there are 75 academic radiation oncology programs in the United States for only 155 radiation oncology physician residency positions
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Contact: Michelle Kirkwood
michellek@astro.org
703-286-1600
American Society for Radiation Oncology
Source:Eurekalert

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