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Officials stress importance of federal funding for cancer research

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Buffalo: Officials stress importance of federal funding for cancer research
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As March 1st approaches, so does a major deadline for Congress. If no action is taken, $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts will take affect over a 10-year period. As YNN's Kaitlyn Lionti reports, officials say it could have a devastating impact on Roswell Park and the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- "Fear, anxiety and overwhelmness," said Averl Anderson, as she described what it was like to be diagnosed with stage three breast cancer back in 2009.

As part of her treatment, she participated in a clinical trial.

"I thank God for the clinical trial drug Avastin that I took that greatly increased my cure rate, actually saving my life. It's imperative that federal funding for clinical trials, clinical studies is not cut," said Anderson.

However, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network says federal funding could be cut for cancer research across the country.

It says if the budget cuts known as sequestration take affect March 1, $1.5 billion will be cut from the National Institutes of Health, which gave Roswell Park more than $34 million last year.

"When we think of all the amazing work taking place here at Roswell and at thousands of other universities and cancer centers across the country, we know that the researchers and their patients on these front lines in the fight are counting on continued federal support," said Hillary Clarke, federal government relations director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.

The Cancer Action Network released a report Monday highlighting the importance of federal funding to cancer research - both medically and economically.

"Every dollar of NIH support is directly related to 2.1 additional dollars in the local economy, so cancer research is good medicine, and good economics as well," said Dr. Donald Trump, president and CEO of Roswell Park.

Congressman Brian Higgins says congress set up the sequestration as a motivator to act, but so far, they haven't.

"I suspect that in the 11th hour again, after a lot of unnecessary congressional drama, you will have a short-term resolution. But there's very little road left and there's very little can left. We can't continue to defer this problem to a later date," said Higgins.

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