Create a Prize to Cure Cancer - 2013

Abstract: Cancer kills more than 550,000 Americans each year and disables many more. President Obama and Congress might be able to speed up research into cancer cures by adopting an innovative funding plan.

In 2013, President Barack Obama and Congress will tackle a number of important issues. However, they will likely ignore one of the United States' most pressing problems-the war on cancer. The disease is an insidious one. Over 12 million U.S. citizens have been diagnosed with cancer (at some point in their lives). More than 550,000 of them die each year from the disease. Many young and middle-aged Americans who survive are unable to work any longer. Per the Council for Disability Awareness, "cancer was the 2nd leading cause of new disability claim[s]."

B: Cancer Cell Division (1)
Since Nixon increased federal funding for cancer research in 1971, scientists have made progress in treating some types of cancer. However, they have not achieved many significant breakthroughs in their fight to eradicate the disease. Their lack of success is partly due to money. The U.S. government and private entities spend over $5 billion per year on cancer research; however, that amount is not nearly enough. Additionally, experts criticize these funding agencies for focusing on conservative, low-reward projects over more innovative ones.

The president and Congress might be able to fix these problems in 2013 without increasing appropriations for cancer research. Further, the plan would likely garner bipartisan support, and that is something which is truly rare nowadays.

In short, the president and Congress could create a large prize centered on curing cancer. Similar to the X-Prize, the federal government would agree to provide a large reward to a company or individual who, for instance, found a cure for a certain type of breast cancer or developed a groundbreaking treatment for prostate cancer.

Both Republicans and Democrats might be inclined to support a government sponsored cancer prize fund. The plan should appeal to Republicans because it does not require the federal government to expend a significant amount of extra resources-at least immediately. Additionally, the incentive program might create jobs in the private sector. Democrats can promote the cancer prize as an extension of President Obama's current drive to increase the number of federally sponsored, incentive based programs.

Everyone would win by promoting a government sponsored cancer prize fund. The public would not lose much if the program proves to be ineffective. If the plan does lead to a cure for one or more cancers, then the federal money will be well spent.

1. Creator: National Institutes of Health
    Date: September 17, 2005
    Title/Description: Normal Cell Division vs. Cancer Cell Division 
     Location/Permission: Wikimedia Commons - Government product (see notes in Wikimedia - click on
     title/link to see original link).

#cancer #disease #health #politics #obama #prize

-- Anthony Hopper

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