Proposed cuts in the 2006 US Federal budget would wipe out nearly two thirds of the Department of Energy's (DOE's) support for nuclear medicine research, a 50-year-old program that has helped produce positron emission tomography and thallium scanning technology.

The president's proposed budget would cut this year's $37.9 million in funding to $13.7 million next year. All or part of the remaining funding might be cut in the fiscal year (FY) 2007 budget, but that decision has not yet been made, according to spokespeople. Among other projects, DOE funding now supports research on early breast cancer detection based on gene expression and how nicotine alters the brain.

Office of Management and Budget (OMB) spokesperson Noam Neusner said nuclear medicine research is being cut because it doesn't advance DOE's "core mission, which is energy and energy resource programs, not medical research."

Neusner said that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) would...

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