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Speaking Out Against NIH Cuts

Sen. Durbin, researchers protest proposed cuts to National Institutes of Health budget

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February 28, 2011 | by Marla Paul
Dick Durbin

Sen. Dick Durbin at the Feinberg School of Medicine.
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) was joined by of Steve Rosen, M.D., director of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, at a press conference Sunday to protest the House of Representatives’ proposed $1.6 billion cut to the National Institutes of Health’s budget

Before the press conference at the Lurie Cancer Center, Durbin toured Rosen’s lab to see firsthand the essential research being conducted there. 

“Not only would these spending cuts slow or halt important medical research, they would result in significant job losses and a slowdown in local business activity across the state,” Durbin told an audience of scientists and media.

Last year Illinois received $884 million in NIH funding -- $775 million of which went to research centers in the Chicago area – which created or supported nearly 12,000 jobs across the state, Durbin noted.

Rosen said the proposed reduction of NIH support would have catastrophic consequences.  He said it would stifle creativity, drive talented researchers from the field and derail “the remarkable momentum witnessed over the last decade.”

“Cancer is a devastating illness, and, though we have made great strides through biomedical research, much work lies ahead,” Rosen said. “The consequence (of the cuts) is a delay in medical breakthroughs that offer hope for our children and future generations.” 

Sunjay Kaushal, M.D., an assistant professor of surgery at the Feinberg School and a surgeon at Children’s Memorial Hospital, as well as representatives from other area medical schools also spoke at the press conference.