President Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
The Honorable Alex M. Azar II
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20201
Dr. Norman E. Sharpless, M.D.
National Cancer Institute
900 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, MD 20892
Dear President Trump, Secretary Azar, and Director Sharpless:
The undersigned childhood cancer organizations are members of the Alliance for Childhood Cancer, consisting of patient advocacy groups, healthcare professionals and scientific organizations, representing millions of Americans who care deeply about childhood cancer. We write today to thank you for your commitment to childhood cancer research and to offer the Alliance as a partner in your ongoing efforts.
We commend the Administration for recognizing the need to advance childhood cancer research and taking bold action to accelerate advances for patients and survivors. As the President highlighted in his State of the Union address and in the Administration’s Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) Budget proposal, many childhood cancers have not seen new therapies in decades. The Administration’s proposal for a $500 million investment in childhood cancer research over the next decade will undoubtedly make progress and bring hope to patients and their families across the country.
While our community applauds the Administration’s leadership with this dedicated childhood cancer research initiative, we also have serious concerns about the FY20 Budget proposal’s impact on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The Administration’s FY20 Budget calls for a nearly 12% cut to NIH’s overall budget and a nearly 15% cut to NCI’s resources. If enacted, these cuts would jeopardize groundbreaking research, including important studies in childhood cancer. The Administration’s new childhood cancer research proposal has the potential to make meaningful progress for childhood cancer patients across the country, but this proposal cannot be implemented at the expense of NIH’s and NCI’s broader budget.
The Alliance for Childhood Cancer and the broader childhood cancer community also care deeply about the implementation of the Childhood Cancer Survivorship, Treatment, Access, and Research (STAR) Act, the most comprehensive childhood cancer legislation considered by Congress. This important legislation, which was fully funded for FY19, authorizes $30 million in new resources for the NIH and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to expand opportunities for childhood cancer research, improve efforts to identify and track childhood cancer incidences and enhance the quality of life for childhood cancer survivors. This was a hard-fought victory for our community, and we strongly encourage the Administration to use its new childhood cancer research initiative to build on the work already underway by NIH and the CDC to implement the Childhood Cancer STAR Act. The Alliance stands ready to support the Administration’s efforts to boost childhood cancer research opportunities, to implement the Childhood Cancer STAR Act and to fully support NIH and NCI’s crucial ongoing work.
Thank you again for your leadership to advance research in childhood cancer. Should you have any questions or need additional information, please contact Danielle Leach, Co-Chair of the Alliance for Childhood Cancer, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alliance for Childhood Cancer