New NIH budget designed to spur cancer trials

The NIH is slated for a modest 3.2 percent budget hike for the next fiscal year in President Obama's newly proposed budget. But even with an extra billion dollars, the NIH will have $4 billion less to spend than it did this year after handing out a raft of research grants with money provided by the stimulus bill.

What does the budget offer? The NIH says that its $6 billion budget line for cancer research will spur 30 new trials in 2011 and double the number of new compounds in the pipeline by 2016, according to an analysis by Bloomberg. And there's a $222 million push on autism to help discover the genetic and environmental triggers of the disease.

"In this current economy, we have to applaud the president for recognizing the value of biomedical research," says Mark Lively, president of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. "While it could have been much worse, we also have to recognize that it's less than what NIH had to spend this year."

The proposed budget comes in at $32.1 billion for 2011, down from 2010's $36 billion total. Lively and others in the biomedical research field had been calling for much higher spending in 2011 to help make up for the largely flat funding the NIH had to grapple with in the Bush years.

- here's the article from Bloomberg