|DALLAS – January 30, 2015 – The president and CEO of the world’s leading breast cancer organization hailed the Precision Medicine Initiative unveiled by President Obama today and said she hopes it lays the groundwork for greater federal research investment to come.
“We’re pleased to see the president’s plan for new funding for precision medicine,” said Judith A. Salerno, M.D., M.S., president and CEO of Susan G. Komen®. “Precision medicine holds significant promise for cancer patients and is already proving successful in breast cancer research. We hope lawmakers will make biomedical research an even greater priority in coming years.”
The president today unveiled a $215 million plan focused on precision medicine, which uses a person’s genetic makeup and health history to develop more effective, individualized treatments for diseases like cancer.
“The increased investment in biomedical research is welcome in an era of dwindling federal dollars,” Salerno said. “As an example, funding for the National Cancer Institute has been decreased by 25 percent in real dollars, translating into about $10 billion fewer dollars for cancer research since 2003,” she said.
“These reductions in cancer research have very troubling implications from both a scientific and healthcare perspective,” Salerno said. “Some question whether our investment in cancer research has yielded results. The facts are that cancer death rates have declined by 22 percent between 1990 and 2011, and breast cancer death rates have fallen by more than a third since 1990,” she said.
“Nonprofit funders like Susan G. Komen and others work hard to fill the gaps left by declines in federal funding,” Salerno said, “but only a significant, renewed federal commitment can assure the future of cancer research.”
Komen is the largest nonprofit funder of breast cancer research outside of the U.S. government, investing $847 million since inception to breast cancer research, including more than $158 million into 330 research grants and more than 70 clinical trials focused on precision medicine. For more on Dr. Salerno’s views on federal research funding, click here.