Despite threats to cut funding to medical research, the U.S. Congress passed a whopping 1.3 trillion dollar budget and although it was originally threatening to cut The National Institutes of Health(NIH) by a crippling 7 billion dollars, it instead raised the NIH 2018 budget by 3 billion dollars to $37 billion. The increase was due to a bipartisan group of lawmakers that came together to force the passage of the budget.
There are some goodies in the NIH budget this year including, $400 million for mapping the human brain (BRAIN initiative, up $140 million from 2017), and the All of Us research initiative, a 10 year effort to track the health of one million Americans will receive $290 million (up $60 million from 2017).
According to Nature, Alzheimer's research will also get a huge increase in funding in this budget of $414 million bringing the total earmarked for Alzheimer's to $1.8 billion. The National Cancer Institute, which expects more than 600,000 Americans to die of cancer this year is earmarked to receive $275 million more than last year.
There seems to be a lot of good news across the board in regards to funding for medical research, but how does this translate for research into Huntington's Disease?
According to the NIH website, Huntington's Disease was funded a total of $55 million dollars in 2013, however, it has dropped considerably for the fiscal year 2018. This year the government has earmarked only $30 million for HD and may be even less next year. The numbers quoted are budget estimates and are subject to change depending on funding, so it may be a good time to call your representatives to demand more funding for Huntington's Disease research. The HD community should not be complacent and simply accept this. Huntington's Disease organizations need to encourage those in the community to begin a letter writing campaign to have that number increased to what was budgeted in 2013.