Research Update - August 2006

From the Chair, Medical & Scientific Advisory Council, Philip L. Cohen, MD

The Arthritis Foundation is the largest private, not-for-profit contributor to arthritis research in the world, funding nearly $370 million in research grants since 1948. That’s why the Arthritis Foundation and its research community are alarmed that Congressional allocation of budget dollars for arthritis research supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is declining. Over four years, NIH support for arthritis research has declined by $16 million. More NIH funding goes toward research for other diseases, even though those diseases are less prevalent. Look at the comparisons of funding for 2006:

  • Cancer: $5.5 billion
  • Substance abuse: $1.5 billion
  • Diabetes: $1.1 billion
  • Alzheimer’s: $652 million
  • Arthritis: $364 million

The NIH is by far the most important support of funding for arthritis research. The many promising projects funded over the past decade are severely threatened by a reduction in funding. Cutting funding is shortsighted and wasteful, and very discouraging to the morale of investigators.

What can you do to help reverse this funding trend at NIH? Go to the Arthritis Foundation’s Web site at www.arthritis.org to see if your House representative and your two senators have signed on to the Arthritis Prevention, Control and Cure Act (Senate bill S.424; House bill H.R.583). You’ll find this information in the Arthritis Action Center under the “Advocacy” tab. Enter your zip code to find out the co-sponsorship status of your members of congress. If they’re not co-sponsors, write them a letter or send them an e-mail letting them know the importance of supporting the Act.

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