The other day I pre-recorded one of the Christmas Eve Patient Power programs. This one was with one of my favorite breast cancer specialists, Dr. Julie Gralow from the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. I've been interviewing Julie for years and she is an excellent doctor and researcher. The program gives us an update on the latest news in breast cancer prevention and treatment. And it's upbeat. I urge you to listen to the replay.

But more than that I was struck by the way Julie wanted to end the program. She admitted it was decidedly NOT upbeat. She is very worried because the government is cutting back substantially on the funding of clinical research and it is certainly affecting breast cancer progress. It is through clinical trials that we develop new medicines, learn to combine older ones, or even dispense with ones where side effects now outweigh benefits.

I said on the air, "It seems like we should all be writing our Congressmen!" Julie absolutely agreed. We must lobby, as people concerned about serious health issues, for appropriate funding for clinical research. If we don't how can we be confident new and better treatments will be there for us when we or a loved one needs them?

Yes, the drug companies are incentivised by the marketplace to develop new drugs. But that's not enough. And, as you know, I am desponded about some politics in the FDA review of promising drugs. The FDA, I believe, capriciously killed Genasense a couple of weeks ago and that puts cold water on expanding drugs for my illness, chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

But, no matter what, if there's no research, the FDA had nothing to consider in the first place.

So with the new Congress coming in, I am making it a priority to write my Congressmen and Senators and tell them how I feel. My New Year's Wish is that you will do the same. Tell them it is NOT what you want as a taxpayer for funds to be limited to the National Institutes of Health (and the NCI) where money for research is going DOWN. It should be increased and made a national priority.

Please lend your voice!

And Happy New Year to you and yours. I wish you and your family the best of health!

Andrew