weekly message

Dear Research Advocate: Several patient groups, including Autism Speaks and the Lupus Foundation of America, were here in force this week, bringing hundreds of patients from around the nation to Capitol Hill to make their very personal, and powerful, cases for research. Their timing was perfect, as it coincided with the push for 21st Century Cures cosponsors, and subcommittee passage of the House “Labor-H” appropriations bill for fiscal year (FY) 2016, which covers funding for NIH, CDC, and AHRQ. This funding bill is definitely a mixed bag. NIH would receive a $1.1 billion increase; $100 million above the President’s budget. CDC would also receive an increase of $140 million, equal to the...
Dear Research Advocate: That so many well-informed patient advocates are working for House passage of the 21st Century Cures bill (H.R. 6) is an excellent indication of just how important this legislation is to all of us looking for answers to what (literally) ails us. This makes it all the more puzzling that there aren’t more supporters weighing in from the science community. It may be because many don’t know about the bill yet -- a preliminary report from a poll of scientists we have in the field right now shows that only one in 5 members of the science community say they have heard of the bill. If you are a researcher and a regular reader of this letter, I know you know about it! Will...
Dear Research Advocate, A recent New Yorker cartoon speaks volumes. The scene is the local high school science fair, and the (captionless) image is of the winning entrant, surrounded by his (sic) disappointed brethren, who are scowling at the entrepreneur in their midst. The blue ribbon has been awarded to "How to Monetize Other Kids' Science Projects." Is our cultural obsession with entrepreneurism good news? Several contemporary news items, as well as thought pieces, raise aspects of this question. This is more than a little relevant to the future of science and what we want from science. It is now received wisdom that the economic value of science is responsible for half the growth of US...
Dear Research Advocate: Today the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee considered the 21st Century Cures Act . This bill, in the making for over a year, is now officially 'out of the starting gate' and under consideration by our elected representatives. After a unanimous vote for approval in the subcommittee, a full committee markup is planned for next week. In advance of the subcommittee's consideration, Research!America organized a group sign-on letter expressing support for the NIH Innovation Fund included in the bill. Our thanks to the 187 organizations within and outside of the Research!America alliance who participated! As the bill moves through the legislative process in the House...
Dear Research Advocate: The five-year, $10 billion Innovation Fund for the NIH included in the second draft of the 21st Century Cures bill has generated enthusiasm...and confusion, primarily because an authorizing committee is calling for a mandatory appropriation. For those interested in understanding this and other distinctions on the fund, please click here . Whether you delve into the details on the Innovation Fund or other aspects of the draft now, later or never, the 21st Century Cures initiative is important for its focus on speeding medical progress. We have held two meetings for Research!America alliance members to discuss the initiative. During yesterday's meeting, the...

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If concerted, long-term investments in research are not made, America will lose an entire generation of young scientists.
Brenda Canine, PhD; McLaughlin Research Institute, Montana