WASHINGTON – Today, just one day after Vice President Joe Biden convened the first meeting of the new White House Cancer Moonshot Task Force, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) visited UConn Health – one of the largest Connecticut recipients of National Institutes of Health (NIH) medical research grants – to celebrate a $2 billion increase in NIH federal investments for 2016 and to discuss Connecticut’s role in the fight to end cancer. Murphy joined UConn medical professionals to highlight the boost in funding and the important role that Connecticut research institutions will play in developing new medical therapies, diagnostics, and preventative measures to support the White House’s Moonshot mission to end cancer. Murphy is a member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee and the U.S. Senate Health, Education Labor, and Pensions Committee.
“I want to make sure that UConn and Connecticut’s other research institutions are in a position to win a lot of the new grants coming out of this $2 billion increase for NIH and out of the president’s new ‘Moonshot’ initiative,” said Murphy. “The bottom line is that we’ve got to be bold in what we fund – going beyond the small incremental research advancements – and we’ve got to start getting researchers to propose big research endeavors. The ‘Moonshot’ initiative is a mindset change that can actually get us closer to finding cures. I was thrilled to hear today that UConn Health’s research team is already working on some really cutting edge, innovative projects. UConn is a leader in medical research, and they’re more than ready to expand their research with these grants and new opportunities.”
“NIH funding is critical for UConn Health as our physician-scientists continue to conduct groundbreaking research to develop novel therapies and genomic medicine for cancer, heart disease, and other debilitating diseases,” says Dr. Bruce T. Liang, dean of UConn School of Medicine. “From developing and testing a new personalized vaccine for deadly ovarian cancer to promising medical therapies for heart failure, having strong research funding support is fueling our research discoveries and the advancement of medicine for our patients.”
As part of the year-end government funding bill, Congress authorized a total of $32 billion for 2016 NIH medical research grants. Additionally, the White House proposed yesterday $1 billion in funding over the next two years to jumpstart the Moonshot Task Force initiative. $195 million would go to fund new cancer research and activities at the NIH this year.
Last year alone, Connecticut institutions received over $457.3 million in federal NIH grant funding for 1,100 projects. UConn Health received over $57 million in federal NIH grants last year.