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The American Federation for Medical Research Says Daschle Must Cure Clinical Research Crisis if Change Is To Take Hold in U.S. Health Care System
Date:12/11/2008

e job it will be to bring modern medicine and quality patient care to future generations.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, chronic diseases account for seven out of 10 deaths in the U.S. and for 75% of every health care dollar spent each year. Yet federal funding for clinical research has decreased in recent years, and funding that has been apportioned, has gone mainly to basic research rather than clinical research - the only kind of research that generates disease-specific breakthroughs and patient treatment alternatives.

The NIH budget for the current fiscal year, $29.2 billion, represents a $329 million increase over last year, but the actual growth for NIH programs is much less because $200 million of the increase was earmarked for the Department of State Global HIV/AIDS fund. When the $200 million is subtracted from the budget, the actual increase in NIH programs is reduced to just $133 million (0.5%) over last year. It is not yet known how the FY 2009 budget will be impacted, although the statement accompanying the signed bill from President Bush indicated his intention to submit an FY 2009 budget proposal that will "once again restrain spending."

One program impacted by the tightening of the NIH budget is the Clinical Translational Science Award program (CTSA) -- the NIH-supported clinical research program intended to speed the translation of scientific discovery to the treatment of patients. As a result of the cuts, the NIH is unable to fully fund the evolution and expansion of the CTSA program, which has become a critical training and research structure for junior investigators.

Another alarming issue is the growing scarcity of human resources in the clinical research field. The current generation of physician investigators is aging rapidly and there aren't enough investigators to replace them because support for new investigators entering the field
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SOURCE American Federation for Medical Research
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