Advocates lament shrinking funds for medical research

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"Insufficient funding, coupled with deep budget cuts under sequestration, could be devastating for research," said Porter, a former congressman. "Our global competitiveness hinges on a robust investment that will support bright scientific minds, create high-quality jobs and provide a catalyst for private sector innovation."

The cuts were triggered by the congressional supercommittee's failure to reach a deficit-reduction deal last year and comprise part of the fiscal cliff, which some fear will push the U.S. economy back into recession.

In total, the sequester will reduce budgets at federal health agencies by $3.8 billion unless Congress acts to stop it, according to Research!America.

The group's latest report looked at overall U.S. investment in medical research, finding that private industry has increased its spending on new testing in spite of the weak economy.

Read more about the findings here.

—This post was updated at 2:48 p.m.