Associated Press -Obama Announces $5 Billion in Health-Research Grants | Friends of Cancer Research

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Associated Press -Obama Announces $5 Billion in Health-Research Grants

BETHESDA, Md.--President Barack Obama announced $5 billion in new government grants Wednesday to fight cancer, autism and heart disease.

He said the funds, from the $787 billion stimulus package, would also create jobs. Visiting the Bethesda campus of the National Institutes of Health, he said that its projects illustrate the dual goals of the $787 billion economic stimulus bill: rescuing the economy and laying the groundwork for future generations' stability by improving public health.

Altogether, the stimulus bill included $10 billion for NIH. More than $1 billion of it would be directed to work on genetic research that could identify the causes and cures for ailments ranging from heart and lung disease to blood diseases and autism.

The White House said the $5 billion in grants announced Wednesday would support some 12,000 existing projects and create thousands of jobs over the next two years for researchers and educators, as well as for medical-equipment makers and suppliers.

The investment includes $175 million for the Cancer Genome Atlas to collect more than 20,000 tissue samples from more than 20 cancers, and determine in detail all of the genetic changes in thousands of these tumor samples.

The cancer study involves more than 150 scientists at dozens of institutions around the country, the White House said in a statement.

"Breakthroughs in medical research take far more than the occasional flash of brilliance, as important as that can be,'' Mr. Obama said. ``Progress takes time, it takes hard work, it can be unpredictable, it can require a willingness to take risks, going down some blind alleys occasionally. Figuring out what doesn't work is sometimes as important as figuring out what does.''

Mr. Obama added that NIH research should focus on the public health, not investors or corporate owners. "We know that the work you do would not get done if left solely to the private sector. Some research does not lend itself to quick profit,'' he said. "And that's why places like the NIH were founded.''