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Memphis scientists worry Trump cuts could stifle research


Michael Dyer, chairman of the Developmental Neurobiology Department at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, described how federal dollars for biomedical research helped  the Memphis cancer center begin saving the eyes and vision of children with cancer.

Left untreated, a rare eye cancer called retinoblastoma is virtually always fatal if left untreated and when detected early enough still led to vision loss.

Ten years of basic research funded by the National Cancer Institute and St. Jude led to a new drug combination and a recently completed clinical trial, Dyer said.

The National Cancer Institute is one of 27 institutes and centers that make up the National Institutes of Health. President Donald Trump’s proposed federal budget blueprint calls for reducing the NIH budget for next year by $5.8 billion, to $25.9 billion. It is one of a list of proposed budget cuts to make room for a $54 billion increase in defense spending.

At the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, a 4,000-employee education and research campus in Memphis, Vice Chancellor for Research Steven Goodman said an 18.3 percent cut in the NIH budget as proposed by the Trump administration would have a profound impact on the nation’s biomedical research.

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