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Let’s start with this: think of each person’s cancer as a unique locked door. Now imagine that with a simple test, we could find the right key to unlock that door and cure the cancer on the first try. This is the world of precision medicine, an emerging area of research that the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) feels is the mechanism for finally unlocking the cancer problem. So what does this mean for patients? Consider Mark Meerschaert’s experience. In a matter of weeks, Mark went from being an active on-the-go professor to someone who could barely walk; metastatic prostate cancer had come from nowhere and spread throughout his body. As a respected mathematics professor and researcher,...
Dear Research Advocate: Earlier this week, I met the new dean of the Duke Medical School, Dr. Mary Klotman. She invited me to talk with young MD-PhD investigators who are part of Duke’s Robert Lefkowitz (A Nobel Laureate) Society. It is extremely powerful to be in a room with so much talent, commitment and promise; I encouraged these accomplished young leaders to look for ways to convey their passion for research outside academia, and offered to help. Young scientists’ innovation and energy are vital, not only to science but to science advocacy. The distinction a ‘laureate’ conveys is inspiring to scientists and non-scientists alike. In recognition of that, Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and...
Dear Research Advocate, I was honored to speak yesterday to a group of early-career global health researchers, plus alums and mentors, gathered for orientation and training under the auspices of NIH’s Fogarty International Center. Following my prepared remarks we had a terrific informal discussion. A question from a researcher who had grown up in Kentucky triggered a thoughtful exchange: “how do I explain the value of my work to a resident of rural Kentucky, including why her taxes should pay for it?” These two linked but separate questions can seem quite daunting if, like most researchers, you have never been oriented, much less trained, to consider the public context of research. We’re...
Dear Research Advocate, Former Congressman John Porter, Research!America’s esteemed Chair Emeritus, does not mince words in his Washington Post LTE today, cautioning against state-level education policies that could be misused to subvert science education. Treating knowledge that has been affirmed by years of scientific exploration as negotiable jeopardizes our nation’s ability to meet the challenges and seize the opportunities before us. It is a path to decline rather than progress. We cannot afford to shy away from straight talk about misguided policies. Fortunately for our nation, John never does. This afternoon, the House Labor-H Subcommittee, formerly chaired by Mr. Porter, “marked up...
Dear Research Advocate, I hope you had an opportunity to read America’s ‘Miracle Machine’ is in desperate need of, well, a miracle in last Friday’s Washington Post. The authors, Eric S. Lander and Eric E. Schmidt, build a case for “investing in curiosity about the natural world” that exemplifies advocacy at its most compelling. The term “aha moment” may be overused, but it applies to this commentary as surely as it does to President Franklin Roosevelt’s remarks on the dedication of the NIH’s then-new campus in 1940, when he proclaimed: “We cannot be a strong nation unless we are a healthy nation. And so we must recruit not only men and materials, but also knowledge and science in the...
Dear Research Advocate, Last weekend’s March for Science truly was a celebration and a success. That so many passionate advocates participated -- hundreds of thousands in cities across the globe (some in the pouring rain) -- was awe-inspiring. Following the March, Research!America signed onto a community statement that gives voice to the importance of continued civic engagement by scientists and our commitment to fostering that engagement. At the D.C. March, we were thrilled to see two Research!America board members, APHA executive director, Dr. Georges Benjamin, and AAAS CEO and former Congressman, Dr. Rush Holt, among the speakers, and our video up on the jumbotrons. Some Research!America...
Dear Research Advocate, This Saturday, advocates will celebrate science at events in Washington, D.C., and hundreds of cities across the globe to call attention to the value of science -- how it impacts our health, economy and planet. I encourage you to participate in the March for Science in your local communities and help us raise awareness of scientific progress. Our new video featuring one of our science fellows will be shown on jumbotrons on the National Mall in D.C. during the event. Read more about this celebration in our Board Chair’s statement , my op-ed in the Miami Herald and an LTE by Research!America’s Suzanne Ffolkes in the Hartford Courant. The March is the beginning of a...
Dear Research Advocate, OMB has recommended cuts to FY17 appropriations , which would precede, if you will, the proposed FY18 cuts. As noted in our statement , these proposed cuts contradict worthy goals the President established for his tenure in office. They also fly in the face of public opinion. Fortunately, it appears Congress is not playing ball . Please use this editable message to say no to reductions and yes to passage of an FY17 omnibus bill. Reliable sources say the bill includes a $2 billion boost for NIH, as well as increases for CDC, FDA and NSF. The media is chock-full of commentary and quotes supporting investment in research and public health. A masterful Washington Post op...
Dear Research Advocate, House Republican Leadership released an ACA replacement bill this week (section summaries available from the Energy & Commerce and Ways & Means committees). The bill has been creating waves, concerning many in the public health and health care fields. The cost and coverage impact have yet to be estimated, but we do know that the bill repeals the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF), which accounts for approximately 12% of CDC’s budget. House Labor-H Chairman Cole (R-OK) discussed CDC’s crucial role in a recent STAT article. Use this editable message to make the case for CDC and PPHF. Trust for America’s Health is a terrific resource for more background...
Dear Research Advocate, I have exciting news! Joe Biden, the 47th Vice President of the United States, will join us at our 21st Annual Advocacy Awards Dinner on March 15 to receive the Gordon and Llura Gund Leadership Award . As he has demonstrated through his leadership of the Cancer Moonshot Initiative, his work in Congress, and in so many other ways, the former Vice President is a true advocate for research. Join us for a remarkable evening. A foundational goal for this annual event is to spotlight advocates for science -- often those who both practice and champion it -- as embodying the “secret sauce” that empowers science by driving public and policymaker support. More scientists are...

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Without continued support for health research, many of the most promising young scientists, their ideas and a myriad of potentially life-changing scientific breakthroughs will vanish into oblivion.
Paul Marinec, PhD; University of California San Francisco