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The Association's more general recommendations also require some
additional comment and discussion.
General Contract Research Authority
The general contract authority for biomedical research and investigation
is contained in Section 301(h) of the Public Health Service Act.
authorization will expire on June 30, the same day as expiration of current
The Association believes that the present legislation
would be a most appropriate vehicle for the extension of this important
contract authority, which provides authority for all the research institutes
and divisions of the NII, not solely for the
The Association recommends the following language:
"Section 301(h) of the Public llealth Service Act is amended to
(h) Enter into contracts, including contracts for research in accordance with and subject to the provisions of law applicable to contracts entered into by the military departments under title 10, United States Code, sections 2353 and 2354, except that determination, approval, and certification required thereby shall be by the Secretary of lealth, Education, and Welfare; and ".
Availability of Funds
In order to insure that funds appropriated by Congress for cancer and other related health activities will be made available for expenditure and
obligation, the Association recommends that the following language be
included in the pending legislation:
"Notwithstanding any other provision of law, funds approprinted
Similar language is presently contained in Section 601 of PL 91-296,
and is to expire on June 30, the same day that the current cancer authorities
expire. This language has been used frequently in recent months to secure
the availability of funds appropriated by Congress but not released for
vehicle for the continuation of this Congressional directive that appropriated
health funds, and the priorities which they reflect, are not to be tampered
with. The importance of this language to the federal investment in health
cannot be overemphasized. The Association therefore urges the subcommittee
to take this opportunity to extend this crucial statutory protection.
The Association believes that the establishment of a statutory term of
tle 10, inatis
office for the Director of the National Institutes of Health is essential to
the continuity of leadership in biomedical research.
Federal support of
this research is a nonpartisan activity, and its leadership should be equally
It is imperative that the director of the federal biomedical
research effort be a highly qualified individual, with a background and
training in biomedical research and administration, who is selected without
regard to political affiliation.
The administration of the research effort
will be best served by the nonpolitical transition from one director to
the next, with careful Congressional review of the scientific qualifications
of prisposed directors.
In order to meet these goals, the Association strongly urges the
subcommittee to provide a statutory term
of seven years for the Director
of the Nill and to make appointment subject to Senate confirmation.
The Association therefore recommends that Section 454 of the Public
Health Service Act be amended to read as follows:
"(a) The Director of the National Institutes of Health shall be
(b) The Director of the National Cancer Institute shall be
The Association has repeatedly stressed that the basic causes and
nature of the cancerous process are unknown.
The nature of cancer is deeply
embedded in the most elemental life processes and is an obscure and complex
part of the life cycle. Major further progress in the conquest of cancer is,
in the final analysis, dependent upon greater understanding of the intricate
working of the basic life cell and its responses to both internal and external
It is important to realize that the new leads which seem to offer
promise for advances in cancer have emerged in scientific fields which at
the same time were far removed from the mainstream of scientific effort in
These new efforts are derived from, and are dependent upon, scientific
achievements in the fields of virology, immunology, genetics, and cell
biology. No one can predict with certainty the fields from which will come
the findings that will provide further insights into the nature of cancer.
A11 bioscientists, however, will agree that real progress in understanding
cancer can only come through greater understanding of the fundamental life
processes of which it is a part.
The national attack upon cancer cannot be fought exclusively with
programs sponsored by the National Cancer Institute.
Cancer research is
also dependent, in part, upon advances in the various biosciences which
are sponsored by the other institutes at the NIH
particularly the general
basic research programs of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.
The Administration's failure to perceive the importance of the other
NIH disciplines in the national attack against cancer is evident not only in
the lowered budgets of these institutes, but also in the distribution of
staff positions within the NIH.
Over the past several years, the NIH
as a whole has suffered an outright loss of approximately 600 permanent full
timu staff positions. In addition,
over 350 more positions have been transferred
from the other institutes of the NIH to the NCI and the National Heart and
Lung Institute. The net result has been a loss of approximately 950
compromised the ability of the NIH staff to administer the programs under
The impact of the Administration's decisions on the morale and effective
ness of NIH administrators is clear.
The national biomedical research program
established by the Congress has been stymied by administrative fiat.
repeated attempts to terminate research training programs, abolish peer review,
and reorganize staffing patterns indicate all too clearly that biomedical
research and the nation's health do not hold a high priority within this
Such an attitude cannot be allowed to stand unchallenged.
Senator KENNEDY. Our final witness is the American Cancer Society, represented by Dr. A. Hamblin Letton.
He is chairman of the Society's Legislative Committee and its national chairman.
We welcome you to the committee this morning, and apologize for the late hour.
STATEMENT OF A. HAMBLIN LETTON, M.D., CHAIRMAN, LEGISLA
TIVE COMMITTEE, AND PAST PRESIDENT, AMERICAN CANCER
Dr. LETTON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I am Dr. A. Hamblin Letton of Atlanta, Ga. I am in the private practice of surgery.
I am the former chief-of-staff of the Georgia Baptist Hospital, the largest private hospital in Georgia, and am president of the Atlanta Medical Center.
I am the chairman of the Patient Care and Research Committee for Cancer of the American College of Surgeons, and am a member of the Professional Education Committee of the International Union Against Cancer.
I am a volunteer of the American Cancer Society and have held
I am here today to present to you the views of the American
The American Cancer Society has been very pleased with the
We, without hesitation, endorse and encourage the passing of the
We strongly support the special authorities and initiatives the National Cancer Act gives to the National Cancer Institute, including direct budget submission to the President with reasonable opportunity for comment, but without change by the Secretary of HEW, and the Director of the National Institutes of Health. This has been one of the healthiest changes in the history of the National Cancer Institute. We would strongly oppose any action that would return the control of the National Cancer Institute to the National Institutes of Health.
We support the increase in the number of experts or consultants as defined in section 401(1). We urge the deletion of the word "fifteen" in section 408(A).
We support the increase in funding authorization as has been suggested by the National Cancer Advisory Board; that is, for the cancer control program $50 million for fiscal 1975, $65 million for fiscal 1976, and $85 million for fiscal year 1977.