ROCKVILLE, Md. – The American Society of Human Genetics today expressed deep disappointment at the administration’s budget proposal for medical research released today, noting that the cuts would significantly slow new genetic knowledge and novel genomic health applications that are improving diagnoses and treatments for American families. At the same time, it thanked Congress for its strong bipartisan support for medical research and urged sustained leadership to grow, not cut, these investments.
Federal research funding improves the lives of people everywhere and powers America’s innovation economy, helping to make the U.S. a global scientific leader. The Administration’s proposed Fiscal Year 2020 budget would impose deep cuts to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and would represent a stark change from the nation’s bipartisan leadership over the last decade to invest in biomedical research. Polls consistently report Americans believe such investments should remain a high priority.
“As the world’s largest funder of biomedical research, the NIH is essential for progress in genetics and genomics,” said Lynn Jorde, PhD, Chair of ASHG’s Policy and Advocacy Advisory Group. “A lack of funding for the agency in the next year would not only slow the pace of research, but would also make careers in science less attractive to the next generation of biomedical researchers.”
Sustained investment in genetic and genomic research over decades is resulting today in better diagnoses and treatments, a trend that will grow exponentially with continued funding. For example, major advances are on the horizon to treat sickle cell disease with genetic therapies; recent advances resulted in new therapies for those living with rare leukemias; and cancer screenings based on genetic predisposition are resulting in earlier detection and targeted therapies. Dozens of additional treatments are under regulatory review and hundreds are in clinical trials. In turn, today’s work to advance fundamental genetic knowledge will feed tomorrow’s progress.
“We thank Congress for its sustained, bipartisan support for federal research funding increases over several years and look forward to working with members of Congress in the coming months to continue the momentum,” said Dr. Jorde.
* * *
About the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG)
Founded in 1948, the American Society of Human Genetics is the primary professional membership organization for human genetics specialists worldwide. Its nearly 8,000 members include researchers, academicians, clinicians, laboratory practice professionals, genetic counselors, nurses, and others with an interest in human genetics. The Society serves scientists, health professionals, and the public by providing forums to: (1) share research results through the ASHG Annual Meeting and in The American Journal of Human Genetics; (2) advance genetic research by advocating for research support; (3) educate current and future genetics professionals, health care providers, advocates, policymakers, educators, students, and the public about all aspects of human genetics; and (4) promote genetic services and support responsible social and scientific policies. For more information, visit: http://www.ashg.org.