Several experts spoke about cancer research and its effects on the state of Arkansas during the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network’s (ACS CAN) annual Policy Forum today at the Red and Blue Events Venue. The forum was an opportunity to thank several businesses for their efforts and call on others to join the fight.
Speakers included Cam Patterson, M.D., chancellor of University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), and Laura Hutchins, M.D., interim director for the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, who spoke about their pursuit of National Cancer Institute (NCI) designation. Jeff Stinson, director of HealthTech Arkansas, discussed how his company is driving healthcare innovation through programs and investments. And, Paul Limburg, M.D., co-chief medical director of Exact Sciences, talked about his company’s noninvasive test for colorectal cancer screening and their commitment to eradicating colorectal cancer.
Over the past two decades, significant improvements have been made in the way cancer is diagnosed and treated and researchers have also learned how to reduce cancer risk more effectively or prevent it altogether.
“Although cancer rates are dropping in Arkansas and across the country, our work is far from over,” said Michael Keck, Arkansas government relations director for ACS CAN. “Sustained investment in cancer research by government and other sources is critical to ensuring the next breakthroughs reach those who need them.”
When federal and state lawmakers fail to continue to invest heavily in research and discovery, there’s a risk of squandering momentum. Research needs steady funding because without it, potential cures will languish in labs across America and the important breakthroughs that are so close to being made will never come to fruition.
“The federal government is by far the largest funder of cancer research, but state legislators and other partners also play a critical role in supporting cancer control, research and surveillance,” said Keck. “We applaud our lawmakers, UAMS, HealthTech Arkansas, and Exact Sciences for what they’ve done already and urge them to continue to make the fight against cancer a priority.”
The event was sponsored by Amgen, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Celgene, Genentech, Janssen Oncology and Merck.