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Senator Dick Durbin Speaks Out Against NIH Cuts

Senator Dick Durbin Speaks Out Against NIH CutsSenator Dick Durbin and Researchers Protest House Cuts
to Medical Research Funding

March 2011

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) was joined by Steven Rosen, MD, 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 Robert H. Medical Research Center, Durbin toured Dr. 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, MD, an assistant professor of surgery at the Feinberg School and a surgeon at Children's Memorial Hospital, as well as other Chicago area academic medical leaders also spoke at the press conference.

(Last updated on June 21, 2013 )