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Congressman Brian Higgins joins Leaders from RPCI, UB and HWI to Raise Awareness of Medical Research

Apr 8, 2013
Press Release

Today, thousands of advocates from across the country gather in Washington, D.C. to rally in support of medical research funding.  The crowd in the nation’s capital will include more than 50 researchers from Roswell Park Cancer Institute.  

Leaders of three leading medical research institutions in the Buffalo Niagara region joined with Congressman Brian Higgins to raise awareness about the local impact of sequestration and gathered to view the rally which is being streamed live on the web.
 
Federal funding for medical research continues to decline, threatening the future health of Americans. The Rally for Medical Research will unite millions of Americans across the country to raise awareness about the critical need for a sustained investment in the National Institutes of Health and other federal agencies that improve health, spur more progress, inspire more hope and save more lives.
 
Eaton Lattman, Executive Director of the Hauptman Woodward Medical Research Institute said, “Building health-related research is not like building an interstate highway system. Once the capital expense for roadways has been made, maintenance is cheaper.  In research we are always in the construction phase, setting out in new directions with brand-new ideas, technologies, and equipment.”
 
Over $120M in federal medical research funding is awarded to the three institutions locally.   According to Dr. Francis Collins, every NIH grant supports 7 high quality jobs but the current threat will impact, not only jobs, but also the development of new drugs, devices and tools that these scientists are on the verge of discovering.     
 
"Sequestration budget cuts will have a devastating effect on training programs in UB professional schools (physicians, dentists, pharmacists) because many students rely on federal support to have the opportunity for professional training," says Timothy F. Murphy, MD, senior associate dean for clinical and translational research at UB’s School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. "I am also very concerned about the effect that budget cuts will have on our ability to train the next generation of biomedical researchers.  Training researchers is critical for us to develop better and more cost effective healthcare. An environment without adequate support for research will drive trainees away from careers in biomedical research."
 
Roswell Park Cancer Institute is one of over 200 partnering organizations participating in the Rally for Medical Research.  The National Institutes of Health (NIH), , the federal agency that allocates grants for medical research is the largest source of funding for research in the world and has been the force behind many decades of advances that have improved the health of people in every corner of America. 
 
 “This is probably the most exciting time in science, with the knowledge of the human genome and the dawn of personalized medicine,” said Dr. Donald Trump, President and CEO of Roswell Park Cancer Institute.  He continued “But these cuts threaten that progress and dash hopes for millions of Americans.”
 
The National Institutes of Health, faces a $1.6 billion cut this year from the budget reductions known as a sequestration.  More than 80% of the budget is awarded through extramural funding to research institutions across the country.  These impacts will be felt in communities across the country.    
   
"The only failure in research is when you quit or are forced to quit due to lack of funding," said Congressman Brian Higgins.  "First and foremost medical research saves lives, a priceless gift for families touched by disease, and still medical discovery serves the dual outcome of finding more cost effective treatments and reducing health care costs overall."
 
The mission of Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) is to understand, prevent and cure cancer. RPCI, founded in 1898, was one of the first cancer centers in the country to be named a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and remains the only facility with this designation in Upstate New York. The Institute is a member of the prestigious National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of the nation’s leading cancer centers; maintains affiliate sites; and is a partner in national and international collaborative programs. For more information, visit RPCI’s website at https://www.roswellpark.org, call 1-877-ASK-RPCI (1-877-275-7724) or email askrpci@roswellpark.org.
 
The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, the largest and most comprehensive campus in the State University of New York. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.
 
With more than 50 years of exceptional scientific research, the Hauptman-Woodward Institute is an internationally-renowned independent, non-profit facility specializing in life-altering research. Our team of more than 75 members is committed to improving human health through the study of the causes of diseases, as well as potential therapies, at their fundamental molecular level. HWI is located in the heart of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus in Downtown Buffalo, New York, in a state-of-the-art structural biology research center at 700 Ellicott Street. For more information, visit HWI’s website at www.hwi.buffalo.edu or call 716-898-8600.