Cancer research facing budget cuts in Congress - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Cancer research facing budget cuts in Congress

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Cancer research could be facing budget cuts in Congress. Cancer research could be facing budget cuts in Congress.
Kathleen Crosley knows firsthand the importance of cancer research. Kathleen Crosley knows firsthand the importance of cancer research.
INDIANAPOLIS -

There are new concerns about cancer cuts after the American Society for Clinical Oncology published a study saying cancer research is facing its greatest threat in a generation - budget cuts in Congress.

Those cuts mean less money is headed to cancer research facilities like Indiana University, slowing down life-saving research and clinical trials, like the one 66-year-old Kathleen Crosley is undergoing right now.

Crosley has Stage 4 colon cancer.

"I just live everyday and I go for it," said Crosley in her south side home.

When you're living with Stage 4 colon cancer, though, no day is guaranteed.

"You just can't let that ruin your life. You just have to go on and just enjoy what you have," said Crosley. "I was diagnosed in 2006 and I don't feel like I would have survived this long had I not been the benefit of the trials."

Those trials and research, though, all cost money.

"Without the funding, there's no work, 'cause everything requires money," said research assistant Poornima Nakshatri from a lab in the IU Simon Cancer Center.

Money that's disappeared with this year's government sequester and federal budget cuts.

"We are definitely suffering from that...you know...that very difficult time getting financing for these projects," said IU Dr. Bert O'Neil.

According to O'Neil, IU hasn't had to cut any of its clinical trials so far, but federal funding cuts could threaten future projects.

"Cancer's not going away. It's really the basic research now that is going to drive how many drugs will become available that are helpful to patients 10 years from now," O'Neil said, explaining the impact.

Those future patients, who haven't even been diagnosed with cancer yet, will be the ones facing the consequence of the budget cuts as they face cancer fights like the one Kathleen Crosley is facing right now.

"It's not going to go away if we don't fight it," she said.

The fight now is for more funding, so the future fight against cancer through research and trials won't be stymied.

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