In 2011, research grant funding from the national level reached the lowest point in history, with only 4% of all federal cancer research funding dedicated to childhood cancer research. Even the slightest decrease in funding has great impact.
The National Institute of Health (NIH) reported that grant success rates, the percentage of reviewed applications that receive funding, is now at 18%. ScienceInsider states that “the new low reflects the fact that in 2011, Congress cut 1% from NIH’s $31 billion budget – only the second reduction since 1970.” The highest grant success rate was 32% in 1999-2003. Although many of the grant applications offered promising research opportunities, budget cuts continue to limit the overall amount of research that the NIH can support. As a result, research that could lead to improved cancer survival rates and treatment advances will be delayed or never reach its full potential.
What does this decrease in federally funded research mean for childhood cancer research? With the amount of funds shrinking each year, there is a crucial need for alternative means to provide grants to researchers that will enable them to continue projects that show promise. That’s where the St. Baldrick’s Foundation steps in – to fill this gap in funding. As the leading funder in childhood cancer research grants outside the U.S. government, St. Baldrick’s, as well as many other childhood cancer organizations, are providing critical funds for childhood cancer researchers to continue their work towards finding cures. In 2011, St. Baldrick’s funded more than $21 million in life-saving childhood cancer research grants, including an over $5 million grant to the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) which is shared by more than 200 institutions across the U.S., virtually every institution with the expertise to treat kids with cancer.
It’s going to take all of us, no matter the economic climate, to Conquer Kids’ Cancer.
Read about the critical State of Childhood Cancer Research Funding from Kathleen Ruddy, Executive Director of the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.