Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Cancer advocates urge federal support from Hagedorn

Discoveries that accelerate answers to cancer and impact human health can't happen without federally funded research. On Nov. 6, Congressman Jim Hagedorn visited The Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota, to meet with cancer researchers, the American Cancer Society, and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network to discuss the importance of increasing federal research budgets.

"Our community - through the leadership and generosity of The Hormel Foundation and local donors - has developed The Hormel Institute into a state of the art cancer research center," said Ann M. Bode, professor and interim executive director for The Hormel Institute.

"What is critical for continued success and progress is for our expert scientists to receive national grants to support the innovative research they want to and are prepared to do. We rely on national funding agencies to do this so discoveries can flourish in our effort to improve human health."

The Hormel Institute has been an innovative research institute since its beginning in 1942, providing contributions to science to benefit people worldwide. In 2008, The Hormel Institute tripled in size and again doubled in size in 2016, growing from five labs and 60 jobs to today's 20-plus research sections and 140 faculty and staff employees. Future growth is expected to continue, with The Hormel Foundation and local community providing critically important annual support. Though facilities, state of the art technologies, startup funding for scientists, annual operational costs and some research funding is provided by The Hormel Foundation and the community, grant funding for The Hormel Institute's research comes from the American Cancer Society and federal agencies such as National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Cancer Institute, Department of Defense.

Congress was unable to come to a federal funding deal for fiscal year 2020 by the September deadline and instead passed a continuing resolution to keep the government open until Nov. 21.  While a final deal is still in flux, the U.S. House passed legislation earlier this year that would increase NIH funding by $2 billion in fiscal year 2020 and the Senate released a draft bill that would boost NIH funding by $3 billion.

“The Hormel Institute is doing its part in leading the world in the fight against cancer,” said Keely Couillard, American Cancer Society’s director of corporate relations.

“Currently, the American Cancer Society funds 16 research grants across the state of Minnesota, including an important melanoma research project underway at The Hormel Institute.”

The American Cancer Society is the largest non-government, not-for-profit funding source of cancer research in the United States. Since 1946, the American Cancer Society has invested more than $4.9 billion in cancer research to find more – and better -- treatments, uncover factors that may cause cancer and improve quality of life for cancer patients. The program primary funds early career cancer research investigators, giving the best and brightest a chance to explore cutting-edge ideas at a time they might not find funding elsewhere. Forty-nine Society-funded researchers have gone on to receive the Nobel Prize.

“Budget constraints understandably require the President and Congress to identify the most pressing national priorities,” said Emily Myatt, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Government Relations Director in Minnesota.

“With cancer expected to kill nearly 10,020 Minnesotans this year, certainly funding for cancer research and prevention that hold the promise of eliminating death and suffering from this disease should rise to the top of the list. We are at a point where advancements in research are saving more lives than ever, and it’s critical that we keep this momentum going forward.”


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