Blog

Research!America is dedicated to ensuring a strong public and private sector investment in research to improve health at a level warranted by scientific opportunity and supported by public opinion. Each blog post aims to inform readers about the health and economic benefits of research.  

Recent Blog Posts

Dear Research Advocate: It's graduation season and a time to consider the opportunities - and challenges - facing young people, our workforce, our economy and our nation. The director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), Dr. France A. Cordova challenged graduates at Rochester Institute of Technology ( video here ) to find the value in all experiences in life - even when the benefit might not be immediate - and to work with individuals from a wide variety of fields to address the grand challenges of our time. Her messages resonate as lessons learned from basic research, a venture rich in challenge, with gains not always clear at the outset, enhanced by collaborations across disciplines...
Partnerships between patient groups, industry, government and academia are accelerating the research and development of new treatments for rare diseases, many of which have no effective therapies. As a result of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Orphan Drug Designation, eligible companies receive incentives for product development such as tax credits for qualified clinical testing and new drugs are reaching patients sooner. Since 1983, more than 400 drugs and biologic products for rare diseases have been developed, far outpacing the number of products that were available some 40 years ago. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is among the nearly 7,000 rare diseases where very few...
Vaso-Occlusive Pain Associated with Menstruation in Sickle Cell Disease Over the last 40 years, a major change has occurred in the care for individuals with sickle cell disease (SCD) as the life expectancy has increased from the mid-40s to as high as 60 years old. The focus has shifted from decreasing early mortality in childhood and adolescence to improving quality of life for individuals with SCD in the United States. Vaso-occlusive pain remains the hallmark clinical manifestation and leading cause for hospitalization for individuals affected by SCD. Women were found to have higher pain rates when compared to men, particularly during their reproductive years (ages 19-39 years old), in the...
Dear Research Advocate: Earlier this week, the House passed an inadequate proposal for $622.1 million in emergency Zika funding, falling far short of the bipartisan Senate proposal of $1.1 billion passed this week, not to mention the President’s request of $1.9 billion. Appropriations subcommittee Chairman Cole (R-OK-04) has stated that subsequent Zika funding will come in the next appropriations cycle, but public health experts tell us we cannot wait. (This is especially true since the pattern of the last many years is for appropriations to go undetermined until almost calendar year end.) Summer months are approaching and half the continental U.S. is home to potential disease-carrying...
Alzheimer’s disease is the 6 th leading cause of death in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, affecting 11% of the population 65 years and older. Without a treatment or prevention breakthrough, studies estimate there could be as many as 13.5 million Americans living with the disease by 2050 with associated health care costs rising above $1 trillion. However, the research has progressed, as scientists unlock and unveil the secrets of the brain. Recently, scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have shown that measures of the tau protein are better markers of the cognitive decline of Alzheimer's than measures of amyloid beta...
Dear Research Advocate: Every seat was taken in the main Carnegie Institution auditorium, and in a large overflow room as well, for a presentation on CRISPR genome editing delivered by Dr. Jennifer Doudna of UC Berkeley. The Monday evening program, which has open to the public, was co-sponsored by the Carnegie Institution for Science, the Council of Scientific Society Presidents and the Kavli Foundation. In addition to explaining how CRISPR-Cas9 is revolutionizing the ‘software’ of biology, Doudna reflected on ethical issues including the conduct of human germline research. In doing so she echoed one of the obstacles to advancing science listed in a slide deck presented by White House...
The first half of 2016 has already been a very busy year for the Food and Drug Administration as it finalized and published its new comprehensive set of tobacco deeming regulations, continued its implementation of a new food safety system in compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act, and released a new set of pain medication guidelines related to opioid addiction and abuse. All of these developments have come under newly appointed FDA commissioner Robert Califf, M.D. His top priorities also include strengthening FDA’s workforce, improving medical product safety, and supporting the President’s National Cancer Moonshot Initiative and the Precision Medicine Initiative. Dr. Califf will...
With the Presidential race narrowing and congressional races heating up, issues surrounding the health of Americans will likely come to the forefront. Scientists committed to reducing the burden of disease and finding cures are speaking up and urging all candidates to share their plans to advance medical progress. Public policies in support of medical innovation are increasingly important to address health threats that claim millions of lives and disrupt our economy. If elected, will candidates ensure increased funding for medical research is among their top priorities? Will they remove barriers to private sector innovation? As part of our national voter education initiative, Campaign for...
The May/June 2016 issue of The Research Advocate is now online . Highlights from this month include: Research!America board members Bill Hait, M.D. , Janssen Research & Development, and Keith Yamamoto, Ph.D ., University of California, San Francisco, will be discussing the concept of immorbidity on June 8 at the BIO International Convention. “Medical Research: The Right Prescription for Economic Growth” will be taking place June 6 on the campus of Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) in Rootstown, Ohio. A federal policy update on the Senate Innovations initiative, the current status of appropriations for NIH, NSF and FDA, and the recent announcement of the new AHRQ director. Learn...
Dear Research Advocate: Last Sunday, the National Academy of Sciences presented its prestigious Public Welfare Medal to Alan Alda, actor and science communicator, who joins an esteemed group of Medal awardees, including Bill and Melinda Gates and Research!America’s Chair, former Congressman John Porter. In Alda’s acceptance remarks he described a scenario in which members of Congress passed notes to each other during testimony by scientists: “Do you get this? What are they talking about?” In short, a failure of what he called ‘relatability.’ He went on to say that scientists are, all too often, not just failing to communicate with non-scientists, but ‘ex-communicating’ them from science...

Pages

Funding research gives all of us a better chance of living a healthier life.
Pam Hirata, heart disease survivor