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Cancer the top fed priority for medical research

The federal government spends billions each year on medical research. Cancer and heart disease command the most funds.

Cancer the top fed priority for medical research

The federal government spends billions each year on medical research. In 2012, the National Institutes of Health budgeted $16.5 billion to study 233 medical conditions and diseases.

The largest portion was set aside for cancer research – $5.4 billion. Heart disease accounted for $1.2 billion.

Less deadly afflictions received much lower funding for research, though many affect a high number of people. Alzheimer’s disease received $498 million. Depression? $426 million. Even certain specific cancers received greater funding than some common conditions. For example, research into prostate cancer received $285 million, while autism research got just $169 million.

Check out our infographic for more on where federal dollars are going for medical research. See “What Do Others Say?” for more views, then add to the discussion below. What’s your reaction to how the funding pie is split? Is there a better way to slice it?

What do others say?

  • World Health Organization: World Health Organization: “NIH Disease Funding Levels and Burden of Disease” More

  • University of California at Berkeley: University of California-Berkeley: “Who pays for science?” More

  • Brookings Institution: Brookings Institution: “Judging success in funding medical research” More

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