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    nih cutting funding

    dr young i saw it again on tv, this time on fox. these groups are trying to cut nih funding because of the wasted money going to studies on locklizaerds and irish fertility at the turn of the century. other studies are the effect of sex in bathhouses, the effect of porn on womens genitals, transexuals on indian reservations. there is more, all adding up to $100 million. the group was upset that nih would fund this nonsense but would not increase funding for juvenile diabetes.

    I could stop at a flippant remark, like "It's like letting the dogs fight for the food" approach towards funding biomedical reseaerch, but let me go further.

    The Impact of NIH Funding of SCI Cure

    As many of you know or should know, Congress doubled the NIH budget between 1997 and 2003 from about $14 billion to $27.8 billion. The money was not evenly distributed at NIH but there was initially plenty to go around. Although NIH no longer publishes what condition got how much funding, I estimate that spinal cord injury studies probably went from about $50-$60 million per year to $80-$90 million by 2003. The fields that were poised with many researchers and laboratories were able to suck up more of the funds. Then the 9/11/2001 attack occurred. In 2002 and 2003, much of the increase of NIH was taken up for biodefense work.

    In 2004 (this year), received only 1.8% increase. I just came back from Washington DC and learned that even though most of the institutes are making across-the-board-cuts of existing grants by 10-15%, there is not enough money to fund more than 15% of grant applications. In some institutes, the percentile funding of grants will be 12%. This problem is compounded by an increased number of Congressional mandates for certain research projects, a record number of grant applications, and continuing requirements for biodefense research.

    This situation will have a very significant deleterious impact on spinal cord injury research. First, at 12% funding, only the most meritorious applications will be funded. Basically, what this means is that almost no new or risky research will be funded, young scientists will not get their grants, and low priority projects will be dropped. Since spinal cord injury is not currently a high priority, spinal cord injury scientists are young, and spinal cord injury research tends to be risky and new, fewer spinal cord injury studies will be funded. Second, existing spinal cord injury grants will be cut by 10-15% or more, depending on the institute that is funding the work. This means 10-15% less work will be done on existing research projects. Third, there will be no room in the budget for spinal cord injury clinical trials. The Christopher Reeve Paralysis Act, for example, is seeking about $300 million of NIH-funded clinical trials and basic science centers over a three year period. Given the current political and budget situation, its chances for passage and implementation are low.

    The bottom-line is that we should expect a significant drop in the productivity of spinal cord injury research in 2004-2005, a drop in the number of spinal cord injury publications, and no new spinal cord injury clinical trials funded by the federal government. This slowdown comes at the worst time possible for the field. Just as we are beginning to attract the top scientists to the field and there are therapies that are ready to go to trial, the money is drying up and everybody will be engaged in defensive science. Often, when federal research dollars slow down, state and industry sources pick up some of the slack. However, almost all states also are looking at significant budgetary deficits and thus the help that they can provide is limited. Some of the research burden will be taken up by industry funding.

    Unless there is a significant change in the political leadership in Washington DC, I predict a significant slowdown in the number of therapies and particularly combination therapies that will be tested and taken to clinical trials. The latter will not come from the government but rather from industry.



    • #3
      [img]/forum/images/smilies/frown.gif[/img]How sad to live in such a great country with such misguided priorities.[img]/forum/images/smilies/frown.gif[/img]


        Dr. Young,

        This reinforces the fact that any meaningful SCI trials will not occur in the USA for some time. Perhaps those who wish to bolster SCI research should consequently look overseas.

        China is amassing a tremendous cash reserve (per Newsweek) and is LOOKING for ways to invest in their own economy.

        Look at virtually all the current clinical trials; they aren't happening on our soil. Nor do we have the clout or resources or political activism to appreciably influence this trend. We are a military society, there is little room or compassion at the "big House" for the disabled and infirmed.

        To move forward, we must look to the overseas horizon. How depressing. . .


          Ah yes....but no problem finding 150 billion to fund an ongoing war campaign. Gotta love Washington's priorities. I say, "like father like son.... one term, is all we can handle"!


            Originally posted by Wise Young:

            Unless there is a significant change in the political leadership in Washington DC, I predict a significant slowdown in the number of therapies and particularly combination therapies that will be tested and taken to clinical trials. Wise.
            I Agree. For increased NIH funding and more stem cell research, support the Democrats this year, specifically, John Kerry.

            On Stem Cell Research:

            "During his speech and a 30-minute question-and-answer session with Dartmouth health care providers and medical students that followed, Kerry said he would end Bush's "block" on federally funded stem cell research and also pledged to increase funding for the National Institutes of Health and other federal agencies that sponsor medical research."



              Steve, has Kerry said by how much he'll increase NIH funding? Howard Dean says that he'll have a minimum [at least] 8% increase in NIH funding each year and that he will rescind Bush's ban. Also, he'll ask the FDA to finally study the effects of Marijuana during his first year and, if shown to be effective for pain management or other indications, legalize it.

    's worse than we thought. it turns out the people at the white house are not secret muslims, they're nerds.


                One things for sure, Terror related bio research is going to be strong for that ricin was found in a the Senate office building again.

                "So I have stayed as I am, without regret, seperated from the normal human condition." Guy Sajer
                "So I have stayed as I am, without regret, seperated from the normal human condition." Guy Sajer


                  I haven't found a specific amount of increase proposed by Kerry, just an increase. While Dean and Lieberman also look good for research, Kerry leads the polls, and appears to have the best chance to beat Bush.


                  [This message was edited by KeyBored on 02-03-04 at 06:38 PM.]


                    Mike C,

                    Here's a conspiricy theory. The ricin was a plant to keep the administration's agenda on course and justify the platform of priorities and spending.

                    I put nothing past this bunch.


                      both Dean and his wife are doctors so there is a good chance they will back medical research in the future. GO DEAN!