At the National Cancer Advisory Board’s (NCAB) February 5 meeting, NCI Director Dr. John Niederhuber briefed committee members on the Institute’s operating budget for fiscal year (FY) 2008. The $4.8 billion appropriation is essentially flat compared with FY 2007. Because of the rate of inflation, this will require NCI leaders to initiate 3-percent reductions across each NCI division, office, and center.

The cuts will include reducing: competing research project grants from 1,312 to 1,283; patient accruals for Community Clinical Oncology Program (CCOP) trials; and funding for long-term cancer survivorship research by $1.7 million.

Another highlight of the morning session, which we need to take note of, was a presentation by NIH Director Dr. Elias Zerhouni. He described data on the aging of NIH-funded investigators. The decelerating trend in funding over the last four years threatens to “de-prime the pump” in the coming years for the development new investigators who are able to get first-time grants and renewal grants.

A full copy of the meeting agenda can be found at

A videocast of the 2-day meeting can be found later this week at

Posted with great sadness and anger,

Joel T Nowak MA, MSW