How Is Cancer Research Funded in the United States?


Quick Answer

As of 2015, funding for cancer research occurs through a system of applications and grants in the United States. Both governmental and nongovernmental organizations, such as the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society, fund cancer research in the United States, according to the websites of each entity.

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Full Answer

The National Institutes of Health administers the National Cancer Institute, which in turn coordinates the National Cancer Program. The National Cancer Institute provides funds and resources to individuals and institutions engaged in clinical and basic research of the mechanisms of cancer cells and cancer's effects on large populations, notes its website. The NCI awards grants for worthwhile projects, but after several decades of funding 25 to 30 percent of all submitted applications, current budget limitations have reduced this percentage to the mid-teens. In 2014, the NCI established the Outstanding Investigator Award to encourage high-risk research.

The American Cancer Society currently provides funding to researchers exploring specific types of cancer and projects in specific geographic areas, according to its website. It funds research of the treatment, biology, early detection, prevention and causes of cancer. The American Cancer Society has given more funds to research than any nongovernmental organization and has contributed to every major research advance since 1946.

The American Society of Clinical Oncology points out that government funding for cancer research has decreased, and it supports the passage of the 21st Century Cares Act, as noted on its website. This bill aims to strengthen the National Institutes of Health in order to provide more clinical trial options for cancer patients.

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