Survey shows breakthrough medical research relies heavily on NIH funding

Posted By News On December 10, 2012 - 3:30pm

(ATLANTA, December 10, 2012) – A survey highlighting the correlation between today's cutting edge medical research and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding was released today at the 54th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH), the preeminent medical meeting for physicians and scientists in hematology that draws more than 20,000 attendees from around the world. The survey, representing responses from 1,040 abstract presenters from the U.S. and abroad, demonstrates how critical NIH funding has been to the success of science and medicine.

"Every year researchers and doctors across the globe look to the ASH annual meeting for breakthrough science," said ASH President-Elect Janis Abkowitz, MD of the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. "With nearly two-thirds of the U.S. presenters at this year's annual meeting reporting that they rely on NIH funding, this survey shows unequivocally that those breakthroughs depend on NIH investment."

Survey data also show that in addition to funding current research, a greater number – 86 percent of American abstract presenters – report that they had referenced an NIH-funded study for their own research over the course of their careers. In addition, the survey reveals a high level of concern among scientists and physicians about the impact of reduced NIH funding. Of the U.S. respondents, 75 percent said that when it comes to medical research and development, they are "extremely concerned" (responses on a scale from 1 = not concerned to 5 = extremely concerned) about the threat of NIH budget cuts and the impact on their future careers.

"As a young investigator, I am dependent on the NIH to help fund my research," said ASH member Manali Patel, MD, MPH, a Postdoctoral Hematology/Oncology Medical Fellow at Stanford University who focuses on cancer quality and disparities research. "I love my research and would love to continue it, but am unsure where the direction of research funding is heading and very wary of the impact of NIH funding on my future career."

The survey also shows that the impact of NIH funding goes well beyond U.S. borders. In fact, 52 percent of international presenters said that they have referenced an NIH-funded study for their own research and 22 percent report being "extremely concerned" about the threat of NIH budget cuts.

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