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SGO Opposes Proposed 20% Cut in NIH FY2018 Budget

Cuts Would Further Exacerbate the Crisis In Clinical Trials for Gynecologic Cancer

CHICAGO, IL (March 17, 2017) – The Society of Gynecologic Oncology (SGO) strongly opposes the Administrations FY2018 budget that calls for a $6 billion cut from funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). SGO joins its colleagues in the National Coalition for Cancer Research and the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research in opposing this 20 percent reduction in research funding, which would have a disastrous impact on the development of treatments and cures for women with gynecologic cancers, including cervical, ovarian, endometrial and vulvar cancers.

NIH funding has supported clinical trials that have advanced care for women with gynecologic cancer. Two examples of these advances are the addition of chemotherapy to radiation in the treatment of patients with cervical cancer (40-50% improvement in survival) and the adoption of intraperitoneal chemotherapy in advanced ovarian cancer (improvement in survival from 50 months to 65 months).

Gynecologic oncology research already faces a crisis, having experienced a 90% decline in phase III trial enrollment since 2011 due in part to NIH budget reductions and stagnation. The restructuring of National Cancer Institute-sponsored cooperative groups due to budget restrictions, with the formation of NRG Oncology in 2012, and a shifting emphasis to smaller biomarker-driven studies, have also played a part in the decline.

Rather than further reducing NIH funding, it is critical to increase funding for clinical trials through the NCI. The SGO supports the FY2017 $34.1 billion spending package for NIH, and we urge Congress to approve a $2 billion increase for FY2018.

Never before has medical science had such a wealth of knowledge in the areas of genetic determinants and molecular signatures that drive gynecologic tumor cell growth. Clinical trials hold the promise of translating this scientific knowledge into identification of actionable drugs, preventative strategies, enhanced patient outcomes, and improved survival. We must chart a new course together to increase the availability of clinical trials for women’s cancers.

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The Society of Gynecologic Oncology (SGO) is a 501(c) (6) national medical specialty organization of physicians and allied health care professionals who are trained in the comprehensive management of women with malignancies of the reproductive tract. The Society’s membership, totaling more than 2,000, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, nurses and pathologists. SGO member provide multidisciplinary cancer treatment including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery and supportive care.