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Concerns about NIH 'Common Fund'

Some researchers fear anticipated funding increases for trans-NIH activities, while supported by biomedical groups, could draw research dollars away from specific areas

Ted Agres
Some US medical researchers and patient group advocates are concerned that a congressionally authorized "Common Fund," designed to advance interdisciplinary research across institutes and centers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), will siphon needed resources from specific disease areas such as cancer and diabetes. The fund has received support from major biomedical groups, including the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) and the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), who argue the measure will stimulate collaboration. But some say that the cost of this collaboration may be too high."The idea of creating a research enterprise devoted to diseases that transcend the institutes is a good idea," said Robert C. Young, president of Fox Chase Cancer Center and chair of the Board of Scientific Advisers to NIH's National Cancer Institute. "If the budget were going up to allow the Common Fund increase to occur, it wouldn't be so...

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