NCI to double the number of cancer grants

By Jeremy Manier

This announcement from the National Cancer Institute could be very big news at cancer research centers like this one. The increase, which NCI director John E. Niederhuber described in a speech at the meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, will be part of the economic stimulus package.

Here’s an interesting passage from the story in The Scientist:

In 2009 the agency will be able to fund the top 16% of grant applications instead of only the top 12%–last year’s payline–based on budgetary increases alone, Niederhuber said. The NCI may be able to fund 25% of applications with the added $1.3 billion that the agency is set to receive as part of the $10 billion in stimulus funding for the National Institutes of Health.

But raising the payline is only half the story. “Economic stimulus funds give us the chance to be visionary,” Niederhuber said, adding that the NCI will seek to fund more young, first-time investigators, and will emphasize prevention and early diagnosis in the research it supports in the future. “Patients still need better treatments, better prevention, and better early detection,” he said. “We must recommit ourselves to answering that call.”

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