Cancer patients denounce sequester research cuts

"More than 1.6 million people in America will be diagnosed with cancer this year, and we need lawmakers to work in a bipartisan effort to quickly restore funding for cancer research and prevention programs and make the fight against cancer a top national priority."

Sequestration was designed to push lawmakers into a major deficit-reduction deal that would curb entitlement spending over time.

In the absence of a deal, the cuts took effect last week, and analysts say it could be months or years before lawmakers agree on how to reduce spending another way.

Proponents of federally funded medical research have said that sequester cuts to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will set its agenda back one generation. ACS CAN estimated that as many as 1,380 fewer research grants could be funded this year, leading to 20,500 fewer jobs and $3 billion less in related economic activity.

The nature of medical research makes consistent funding essential, advocates said.

"You cannot turn research on and off like a light switch,” said Edward E. Partridge, M.D., Director of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer, in a statement.

"Disrupting clinical trials and cutting grant funding midstream could put an end to some promising research efforts and compromise progress against a disease that is killing 1,500 people in this country every day."