Fall Micro-Strike: KidneyCAN Asks Congress to Fund Kidney Cancer Research

On Monday, December 1, 2021, KidneyCAN gathered a team of delegates and once again asked Congress to fund kidney cancer research. We are asking for robust funding of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs, and for money specifically directed to kidney cancer research.

In 2016, Congress allocated $0 specifically to kidney cancer research. That number has increased to $135 million in five years — $185 million if this year’s funding goes through — and that’s due to advocacy from the kidney cancer community. Ordinary patients, caregivers, family and friends, doctors and researchers get together and explain to Congress why this money is needed.

This funding isn’t a given from year to year. We have to keep asking for it. This year’s asks are as follows:

KidneyCAN asks Congress:

  • To Maintain the $50 million currently allocated for KCRP for Fiscal Year 2022. *
    To Increase the NIH budget by $3.5 billion for Fiscal Year 2022. **
  • To support the creation of ARPA-H (the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Health) at NIH with an additional $3 billion.
  • To continue supporting legislative initiatives that contribute to robust, sustainable funding for medical research.
  • To continue to incorporate the patient perspective on legislative policy matters.

*The KCRP is designated under the CDMRP.
**The base NIH budget will increase to $46.1 billion. With ARPA-H funding, the NIH funding will be $49.1 billion.

Michael Mariani, PhD, is a kidney cancer researcher at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College. He and KidneyCAN President Bryan Lewis meet with Senator Leahy’s office (D-VT) to discuss funding.

Congress passed and the President signed into law a second stopgap funding bill (continuing resolution, or CR) on December 3rd that will keep the government running until Feb. 18, 2022. This will give Congress additional time to work on Fiscal Year 2022 appropriations bills.

A second CR is not ideal for the kidney cancer community, as funding is frozen until new budgets are approved. The longer the CR, the more difficult it is for researchers to do their research work. This results in no new programs of research.

We urge Congress to agree on new funding amounts for defense and non-defense programs, and avoid any further funding delays.

If House and Senate appropriators can agree, the government could be funded in mid-February and new programs can get underway.