The Academy of Radiology Research welcomes the draft recommendation issued by the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) which gives a B rating—the second highest—to CT screening for a targeted population of patients at high risk for lung cancer. These recommendations will be a game-changer for lung cancer, which still has a 5-year survival rate of only 16% and is the leading cause of all cancer deaths.
The National Cancer Institute’s National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) was terminated in 2010 as soon as it reached its endpoint of a 20% mortality rate difference between those screened with CT scans and those screened with chest x-rays. Modeling studies of other national and international trials indicate that the impact could be much higher.
The Academy was honored to collaborate with the Lung Cancer Alliance, one of its patient advocacy group representatives on the Coalition for Imaging and Bioengineering Research’s Steering Committee, to support the National Lung Screening Trial. With this potential impact on the cause of 30% of all cancer deaths, radiology research is helping to bring about the most significant drop in overall cancer mortality ever.
“Researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and all national and international consortiums involved in this achievement should take a bow,” remarked Renee Cruea, the Executive Director of the Academy. Cruea also thanked NCI Director Dr. Harold Varmus, the NCI’s Cancer Imaging Program (CIP), the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), and the American College of Radiology Imaging Network (ACRIN), for their support of the National Lung Screening Trial.
Discoveries made in imaging research sponsored by the National Institutes of Health are having a major impact on patient care. Like the National Lung Screening Trial, radiology research sponsored by all of the Institutes at the NIH saves lives by giving patients, physicians, and researchers new tools for understanding disease. However, under the current ten-year schedule of congressionally-mandated sequestration cuts, new research that will have an impact as important as the National Lung Screening Trial is at risk of never getting off the ground. In honor of the USPSTF’s recommendation—an important step in turning research discoveries into clinical care—the Academy calls upon Congress to stop sequestration of the NIH budget to ensure that ground-breaking medical discoveries will continue to be made.