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OK, so considering I'm at the rally as this was auto-published at 10:15am EST, not exactly live. But I hope you will forgive me, for this is a very important message to bring to the Daily Kos community.

This morning from 11:00am - 12:15pm, over 15,000 scientists, physicians, cancer survivors, and concerned citizens will be attending the Rally for Medical Research in Washington, D.C.  The rally, which is being hosted by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), is being sponsored by over 200 organizations, including my very own University of Pennsylvania.

Our message is unified and clear - NOW is the TIME for policymakers to make lifesaving medical research a national priority after years of declining budgets, including the especially devastating 5 percent cut through sequestration.

Watch the LIVE webcast on YouTube from 11:00am - 12:15pm
Join me below the fold for more details about the rally and why medical research funding is extremely critical to America's overall health and economy.

As I wrote about six weeks ago in this diary, the effects of the sequester will hit research institutions extremely hard.

The percentage of grants funded by the NIH are already at all-time lows, and this percentage is set to go even lower if the sequester remains in place.  This is a troubling trend that we hope to reverse.  We in the science and medicine community feel so strongly about this issue that the AACR, which is currently holding its yearly conference in Washington, D.C., has actually canceled its day's seminars and instructed all attendees to head over to the rally.

To quote Joe Biden, this is a "big f***ing deal!"

Here's why everyone should be strongly in favor of federal research funding:

-Federal research funding has some of the highest Returns on Investment of any federal spending.  In launching the BRAIN Initiative, President Obama remarked that for every $1 spent on mapping the Human Genome, $140 was returned.

-Biomedical research lowers health care costs by discovering new methods for more effectively diagnosing and treating disease, and healthy people means lower healthcare costs.

-The jobs supported by federal research funding are good paying jobs that attract intelligent workers that often forge public/private partnerships, which further diversifies the economic impact of research dollars.

-In many instances, the research that leads to cutting-edge medical breakthroughs is deemed too risky by private companies to conduct. Without federal research grants that support these projects, the number of breakthroughs would be severely limited.

As noted in the Daily Pennsylvanian (UPenn's newspaper):

"[Consider] Carl June's NIH-funded Phase I clinical trial that resulted in amazing regression of lymphoma in pediatric patients. Without the initial NIH investment, this trial would have been nearly impossible to conduct, as pharmaceutical companies deemed it too risky to invest in."
From the Philly Inquirer article itself:  
"Although 10 is a tiny number, the outcomes have been so stunning the world has noticed. After journals published results from the first three patients last year, pharmaceutical giant Novartis rushed to team with Penn to develop and license the technology."
 (bold my emphasis)

So how can you help?  It's really late notice, but if you're in D.C. and want to stop by, here's the details for the rally:

What: Rally for Medical Research to raise awareness of the critical need to make funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) a national priority.

Where: Carnegie Library grounds at Mt. Vernon Square, Washington, D.C. (across from the D.C. Convention Center); 801 K St. NW; Washington, D.C. 20001

When: April 8, 2013, 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

About 20 students and faculty from the University of Pennsylvania will be meeting with our Congresspeople, including PA Senators Casey and Toomey, as well as a bunch of other Senators and Representatives from our home states/districts.  We will be asking our Congresspeople to support Rep. Schwartz's bill that appropriates $3 billion in funding for the NIH for the remainder of FY2013, as well as support for the McKinley-Markey letter that calls for $32 billion for the NIH in FY2014.

The full list of Congresspeople we are meeting with is below:

Sen. Casey (D-PA)
Sen. Toomey (R-PA)
Sen. Nelson (D-FL)
Sen. Boxer (D-CA)
Sen. Coats (R-IN)
Sen. Donnelly (D-IN)
Sen. Rubio (R-FL)
Sen. Kaine (D-VA)
Sen. Cruz (R-TX)
Rep. Schwartz (D; PA-13)
Rep. Dent (R; PA-15)
Rep. Garrett (R; NJ-05; my home district)

Science funding is critical to our nation - for our health and for a robust economy.  Let's get to work to increase federal research funding!

Note - since this diary was auto-published and I'm away from my computer, I will have minimal access to it throughout the day (pretty much just on my iPhone during break times, so that's kind of a wash).  Hopefully this diary will get some buzz and there will be lots of positive feedback.  I'll check in on my desktop computer when I get home to Philly later tonight.

Originally posted to mconvente on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 07:15 AM PDT.

Also republished by Positive Intention and Lovingkindness, Barriers and Bridges, TexKos-Messing with Texas with Nothing but Love for Texans, J Town, and SciTech.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Can't thank you and your fellow scientists enough (8+ / 0-)

    for dong this. Lives depend on medical research, research that must be properly funded.

    Such research saved my brother's life when he was a kid and in so doing, helped countless others. That is only one example of medical research saving lives. All of it is at risk.  The lives of those we love, our friends and neighbors are at risk from funding cuts.

    Tip'd, rec'd, shared, and getting the word out.

    This needs to be on the rec list and shared far and wide.

    "Compassion is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism." Hubert H. Humphrey

    by Onomastic on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 08:05:03 AM PDT

  •  This is critical! for cancer, Alzheimer's, ... (8+ / 0-)

    Take just one example, pediatric cancer research. Peter Adamson, chair of the Children's Oncology Group (COG, the main national co-operative group that conducts cancer clinical trials to improve cancer care for kids) laid out the consequences in an interview published March 15 in the Cancer Letter (sorry, can't link, not public).

    He pointed out that when NIH started funding pediatric oncology research about 50 years ago, 5-year survival for kids with cancer was less than 10%. Now it is 80%. An estimated half of kids with cancer in the US participate in clinical trials - they get cutting-edge cancer treatment and have been part of that astonishing increase in survival. These cuts, on top of NIH's flat budgets (or actual cuts) in real dollars in the last 10 years, will force COG to terminate trials early, enroll fewer kids, or just not open new trials. Imagine being the parent of a child newly diagnosed with leukemia, say, and hearing this news.

    These cuts apply across the board at NIH. Research will be devastated in Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's, diabetes, asthma,  you name it. Not to mention the role that NIH plays in training the next generation of physicians and researchers, and the role that CDC plays in tracking disease. (New bird flu outbreak in China - so far about 50% mortality - not yet spreading widely, but if CDC loses its funding for tracking, how will we know?)

    I guess the Far Right must believe that the Magic of the Free Market will cure everything. Uh huh.

  •  Given # comments,DKers hv no interest in... (3+ / 0-)

    ...the need for pursuit of Medical research.
                                                                                     On Sun Mar 31, 2013 at 10:49 AM PDT I published "ALZHEIMERS & THE SEQUESTER : Some abstractions from reports of potential interest." and tried to detail how lack of adequate funding was an impediment to Alzheimer's research and how that theoretically could bankrupt this nation.                                                                                                                                                          The number of comments (   4 Comments    ) were scarce so I assume that interest also was, and as with UR Diary is so far at this time (12:01) lack of comments ( and interest ?) is being repeated.

    •  I hope this reflects overlooking, not indifference (6+ / 0-)

      I see the impact of AD on patients and their families every day, and the impact of cuts on research and training as well.

      I cannot believe that anyone who has seen AD in action could be indifferent to the long-term consequences of having, say, 10,000,000 people with AD to care for. Hope that they just missed your diary, as I did, despite my interest in the topic. But I was busy, as it happens, doing AD research. On Sunday? Yep, that is one of the consequences of perennial underfunding.

  •  Can't be there but totally on board. (8+ / 0-)

    When less than 10% of research proposals are being funded by NIH, the whole grant system has become a bizarre kind of lottery. We need funding increased by about 3-fold to ensure that a healthy proportion get fully funded. As it is now, you can be funded and then have your budget slashed by 10-20% without warning.

    For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

    by Anne Elk on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 09:07:41 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for bringing this to our attention (7+ / 0-)

    I've added more tags and I'm republishing it to TexKos with a suggestion that people flood Ted Cruz' office with input.

    Those who do not understand history are condemned to repeat it... in summer school.

    by cassandracarolina on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 09:47:33 AM PDT

  •  Glad to see you and your institution taking (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ZenTrainer, mconvente

    action like this. Your diary was reposted to the Monday Night Cancer Club for obvious reasons, but I will go into my own diary comment thread to draw people's attention to it.

    I was busy today having a CT scan and a consult with my oncologist. Fortunately for me, my news was good. However, if it hadn't been, I could have been in a pickle. My first-line chemo failed, and there are not many good second-line chemos for my particular kind and stage of cancer. I'm planning myself to get more involved in advocacy for gyno cancers; clearly more money would help but OTOH that alone is not enough either.

    Hope it was a successful day of activism. I look forward to more updates. Thanks!

    Some DKos series & groups worth your while: Black Kos, Native American Netroots, KosAbility, Monday Night Cancer Club. If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

    by peregrine kate on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 05:31:35 PM PDT

  •  Yep. The private sector isn't going to do it. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mconvente, peregrine kate

    A friend of mine who was researching cancer here at Vanderbilt moved to Utah to do research there. A few years later she walked into work to find that her department had been disbanded, all researchers and techs, 52 people, out of a job.

    Seems there is more money in treating cancer than finding a cure so they were switching focus.

    Within a month another private company did the same thing, now another 100 specialists out of work. I don't think many of them found jobs doing cancer research. My friend is researching childbirth now.

    Tracy B Ann - technically that is my signature.

    by ZenTrainer on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 06:55:30 PM PDT

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