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Governor Christie’s Budget Includes Cancer Research Cut? [AUDIO]

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Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Cancer is a horrific disease that touches almost everyone in one way or another whether they’ve lost a loved one or are suffering with the disease personally. You might find it surprising that a close look at Governor Chris Christie’s budget plan reveals a proposal to slash funding for cancer research.

Dr. Alison Gammie, senior lecturer and cancer researcher with the Department of Molecular Biology at Princeton University testified yesterday before the Assembly Budget Committee.

She says she was speaking on behalf of the New Jersey Commission on Cancer Research (NJCCR).

“Given that one in four deaths in the Unites States is due to cancer, I’m sure we all know how important this disease is,” says Gammie. She explains that in New Jersey, “16,400 people will die of the disease in 2013 and an additional 50-thousand or so will be given the news that they have cancer.”

Last year, Christie first proposed eliminating $1 million in funding to the NJCCR, but the money was eventually fully restored. Gammie thanked legislators for the restoration.

“Unfortunately, this year it (funding) has been eliminated again from the Governor’s budget and so we’re asking for your help in reinstating the funding,” says Gammie. “Because so many people are surviving with cancer now, living longer, it really is clear that cancer research is working and we need to continue to support it.”

Consequences Of Not Funding

According to Gammie, Texas, North Carolina and Florida have taken the lead in cancer research.

“We really run the risk of losing prominent scientists to states in which the funding is more secure,” explains Gammie. “If a research lab moves it brings with it the entire research staff including students and post-doctoral fellows.”

Benefits Of Funding

Gammie says the NJCCR has been instrumental in launching the careers of prominent scientists in the Garden State and through funding she has played a role in potentially pioneering a cancer treatment. There is also money to be gained by funding cancer research.

“We all understand the importance of research, but I also would like to talk about the return on investment,” says Gammie. “For every dollar that is spent researchers are able to get $10 in national foundation research grants.”

Assembly Budget Committee chairman, Vinnie Prieto says he and his colleagues will work to make sure the research funding is there again this year.

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