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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

23andMe ’€” the company helping individuals interpret their own DNA ’€” is hosting a Capitol Hill briefing September 13 that will focus on the role of crowd-sourcing as it relates to the future of research on Parkinson’s disease. The event will be held from noon to 1 p.m. at the House Visitors Center, Room 201. Speakers include Maryum Ali , daughter of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali and a Parkinson’s activist; former astronaut Rich Clifford , a Parkinson’s activist and patient; and Anne Wojcicki , co-founder and CEO of 23andMe. Crowd-sourcing has proven to be a successful method of researching Parkinson’s; 23andMe discovered two new genes associated with Parkinson’s using just this approach...
Dear Research Advocate, In last week’€™s letter, I highlighted research-related themes in the Republican National Platform. The good news included explicit support for basic and applied research and a pledge to make the R&D tax credit permanent. The bad news included strident criticism of FDA ’€” such that support for adequate funding was unclear ’€” and opposition to embryonic stem cell research. The Democratic platform asserts that Democrats will ’€œdouble funding for key basic research agencies.’€ It also goes further than the Republican platform in improving the research and development tax credit and places a very strong emphasis on science education as critical to our innovation...
As reported in the Washington Post, the number of West Nile virus cases in the U.S. is on the rise. Traditionally a disease that affects people in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, 48 states in the U.S. have reported cases in 2012 alone. Nearly 2,000 cases and 87 deaths, including one Wednesday in DC, have been reported overall. The West Nile virus, a neglected tropical disease or NTD, can cause flu-like symptoms or, in severe cases, even brain damage. Peter Hotez, MD, PhD, director of the Texas-based product development partnership Sabin Vaccine Institute, recently wrote a New York Times op-ed addressing the increasing thread of West Nile right here in the U.S., ’€œTropical Disease: The...
A recent unsigned editorial by Bloomberg View restates what we’ve been saying for some time: Americans are not immune from global health problems. The editorial focuses on West Nile virus and dengue, though there are certainly other diseases and conditions that were worthy of inclusion. Worldwide travel means diseases are more transmissible than ever, and climate change gives disease-carrying mosquitoes more hospitable climates, the editorial notes. And a lack of treatments exacerbates the problem. “Patients receive acetaminophen for fever and pain, fluids if they are dehydrated, and get-well wishes,” the editorial states. “No vaccines, no cures and no specific medicines exist to prevent or...
A recent editorial in The Washington Times by Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-CA) and John C. Reed, MD, PhD, chief executive officer of Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute , makes a parallel between President John F. Kennedy’s call for a lunar mission in 1962 and the future of medical research’s battle against cancer. In seven years, the authors note, America went from Kennedy’s proclamation to Neil Armstrong stepping out of the lunar module. (The op-ed ran two days before the legendary astronaut’s death.) Because of our understanding of cancer and the treatments we now have for it, the authors write, we are in a better position to conquer cancer than the space program in 1962. Moreover, they...
For the college football fans among us, today is like a second Christmas: The season begins tonight. South Carolina’s visit to upstart Vanderbilt is the most notable game on the schedule, as South Carolina is the only ranked team in action tonight. And so, for the third straight year, we’re happy to present our own little mashup of college football and medical research. It would be pretty easy to get on a roll about who’s overrated and underrated and what players to watch out for ’€” a temptation we’ve had to force ourselves to stay away from for the past two years . We know our audience: researchers and those who care about research. So, just as we’ve done in the links above, we present...
Dear Research Advocate, As you know, the Republican Party Platform was unveiled Tuesday during the convention in Tampa. There are direct references to medical and health research and other statements that ’€” if not explicit ’€” definitely imply the need for such research. We can draw from both to enhance our advocacy efforts. The following exemplifies the direct and indirect nature of the platform’€™s embrace of medical and health research: ’€œWe support federal investment in health care delivery systems and solutions creating innovative means to provide greater, more cost-effective access to high quality health care. We also support federal investment in basic and applied biomedical...
Dear Research Advocate, As the political conventions get underway, we have further evidence that voters want candidates to make research for health a prominent issue, now and after the election. Our latest national public opinion poll, conducted a week ago, shows voters want to elect candidates who value and highly prioritize the importance of medical progress. Among the highlights: 90% say it’€™s important for candidates to address medical research; 59% say elected officials in Washington are not paying enough attention to combating deadly diseases, so much so that 63% say the next president should announce initiatives promoting medical progress in his ’€œfirst 100 days in office.’€ And...
As Political Conventions Begin, Voters say it's Important for Candidates to Address Medical Research On the eve of the political conventions, nearly two-thirds of likely voters say the next president should announce initiatives promoting medical progress during his €œfirst 100 days in office,€ according to a new national public opinion poll commissioned by Research!America. And nearly three-quarters of those polled say it’€™s important for candidates for the presidency and Congress to have a science advisor. The findings reveal deep concerns among voters about the lack of attention candidates and elected officials have assigned to research. €œResearch and innovation, despite its...
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) has launched a new initiative which focuses on the myriad benefits of health and medical research, particularly as it relates to patient care. The initiative, titled From Hope to Cures , uses patient videos as well as statistical evidence and graphics to illustrate how the billions of dollars spent by pharmaceutical companies on research are extending and enriching the lives of millions of people. This new initiative represents a push for research, progress, and hope. There are numerous items on the initiative’€™s website including links to articles ranging from drug discovery and development to a study which predicts...

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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