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Dear Research Advocate: There is a flurry of activity in Washington. Not only has the Supreme Court ruled on King v. Burwell , but the House and Senate Appropriations Committees have wrapped up consideration of their respective “Labor-H” appropriations bills, regular order we haven't seen for six years. The implications of the Supreme Court ruling are far-reaching, but one political effect could be a return to partisan gridlock in Congress. We can't let that get in the way of passage of 21st Century Cures Act. Please contact your representative in the House and ask them to champion 21st Century Cures. Whether or not they are among the 206 (!) bipartisan cosponsors to date, the more noise we...
Dear Research Advocate: After years of attending to other priorities and taking an “on cruise-control” approach to science, Congress has turned the corner with enthusiasm and determination! Clay Alspach and Tim Pataki from Energy and Commerce Chairman Upton’s staff joined Research!America members on Tuesday to discuss 21st Century Cures. They asked us to help assure a robust and bipartisan list of cosponsors for the bill. Please take a moment to ask your representative to sign-on, or thank him or her for cosponsoring. Please also consider joining one, two or all three of these sign-on letters: UMR , Ad Hoc , NHC . We have final figures for the joint online survey by The Science Advisory...
The serendipitous discovery of penicillin by Alexander Fleming in 1928 transformed the course of modern medicine. Penicillin, followed by a series of other antibiotics, seemed to promise a world free of infectious diseases that once killed millions of people worldwide. Medical breakthroughs such as organ transplants and chemotherapy would not have been possible without the development of antimicrobials. Fleming warned, however, that microbes have the ability to, and inevitably will, develop resistance to antibiotics. It did not take long to prove him right, with drug-resistant strains appearing just within years after the introduction of penicillin, as was the case for many subsequent...
The House Energy and Commerce Health subcommittee considered the next draft of the 21st Century Cures legislation this morning. New to the draft - demonstrating that advocacy works - is the addition of language calling for $10 billion for NIH in mandatory funding over five years. This so-called ‘innovation fund’ is currently earmarked for precision medicine, young investigator awards, and an “other” category, yet to be specified. Please take a moment today to thank Reps. Fred Upton (R-MI-06), Diana DeGette (D-CO-01), Frank Pallone (D-NJ-06), Joe Pitts (R-PA-16) and Gene Green (D-TX-29) for championing this landmark provision. This bill is not a finished product, and our statement (here)...
Dear Research Advocate: Was it the luck of the Irish that brought together a remarkable lineup of celebrities, members of Congress, advocates, researchers and patients for a stunning showcase of advocacy for cancer research? No luck needed. It would be difficult to identify a goal more compelling than conquering a constellation of diseases that cause more than 589,000 deaths in the U.S. each year. On Tuesday, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Stand Up to Cancer, ACT for NIH and Merck launched the One Degree campaign . This initiative, which reminds us that we are all just one degree away from cancer and other devastating diseases, aims to increase research funding at NIH by...
Today, Research!America urged the 114th Congress to take action on five science priorities in the first 100 days of the legislative session in order to elevate research and innovation on the nation’s agenda: Advance the 21st Century Cures Initiative. Spearheaded by Representatives Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Diana DeGette (D-Colo.),the initiative is a promising step in the right direction, focusing on speeding medical progress from bench-to-bedside by integrating patient perspectives into the regulatory process, modernizing clinical trials, and reducing red tape, among other things. Repeal the medical device tax. A provision in the Affordable Care Act, efforts to repeal the medical device tax...
Dear Research Advocate: As America rings in the New Year, many of us will be reflecting on the past and making resolutions for the future. To get a feel for the numerous ways in which NIH, CDC, AHRQ, NSF and FDA contributed to the well-being of Americans and others throughout the world in 2014, click here . I hope lawmakers are taking time now to establish New Year’€™s resolutions and set priorities for the new Congress, which convenes one week from today. My biggest wish for the new Congress? Pragmatism over politics. If pragmatism rules, the next Congress will shake off the stultifying complacency that is weighing our nation down and act to reignite U.S. innovation. More here . One reason...
Dear Research Advocate: So much is troubling our nation – evidenced in protests of recent grand jury decisions and the controversy over release of the Senate’s report on the CIA – that most people probably haven’t noticed or cared that the Congress is delaying and may even abort action on the long overdue funding of the federal fiscal year that began on Oct. 1. People have grown tired of Congress missing self-imposed deadlines, only to say they can only act in the face of those deadlines, and now they are talking of doing it again. And thus we are lulled into thinking it doesn’t matter what the Congress does. But that would be wrong: priority-setting by the Congress plays a major role in...
The tiny increases included in the “Cromnibus” bill for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and our nation’s other health research agencies are just that. The underwhelming support for the NIH, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Science Foundation and the Food and Drug Administration following years of stagnant funding and budget cuts begs the question – how low can we go, given health threats the likes of which stand to bankrupt the nation? And the decision to flat-fund the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality does not provide what it takes to reduce the much-complained of inefficiencies in our health care system. The pain and economic drain of one...
World AIDS day, commemorated each year on Dec 1, aims to raise awareness about the virus, encourage advocates to redouble efforts to fight the epidemic, and remember those who have died and continue to suffer from the disease. Photo credit: cdc.gov The 2014 World AIDS day theme ’€œFocus, Partner, Achieve: An AIDS-free Generation,’€ speaks to how combined efforts and collaborations can bring us closer to a cure or vaccine. For example, public and private-sector funded research led to the development of Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART), which revolutionized the battle against HIV/AIDS according to Research!America’€™s HIV/AIDS fact sheet . Medical research has played a critical...

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The capabilities are enormous, a little bit of research can pay off quite a bit in the long run.
Paul D’ Addario, retinitis pigmentosa patient