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: The House Republican budget resolution passed that chamber yesterday: it does not make research a priority. Today the Senate has begun its “vote-a-rama,” during which a plethora of amendments will be offered before a final vote on the Senate Republican budget resolution, with an outcome likely similar to the House. (Note that while the budget process does not lead - at least not directly - to any changes in federal law, it does provide important insight into issues that are top of mind for federal policymakers.) Several amendments relevant to robust U.S. R&D are scheduled to be considered in the Senate during this process. These include proposed amendments...
Neglected tropical diseases, or NTDs, affect over 12 million people in the U.S. and 1.4 billion people worldwide, yet have historically received little attention. Closely linked to poverty, these diseases are often disabling or fatal if left untreated. Despite their name, they also affect a large population of those living outside the tropics, including those living in the southern U.S. Researchers at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy have created a competition for undergraduate and graduate students to bring attention to NTDs. Comprised of two challenges, this program is an innovative way to start the conversation on how best to combat diseases not given enough attention...
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...
As p art of the 19th Annual Research!America Advocacy Awards dinner in Washington DC last week, I was honored to help acknowledge outstanding champions of medical research including Robin Roberts, Michael Milken, Dr. Kenneth Olden, David Van Andel and Dr. George Vande Woude, the Society for Neuroscience, as well as House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Representative Diane DeGette (D-CO). Their efforts to advance policy, funding, or research – all of which are critical to meeting our goal of increasing health research for the ultimate benefit of humankind – are making a significant difference in the lives of millions fighting cancer, neurological and infectious...
Transforming the current disease-specific non-profit funding model and the outlook for FY16 budget levels for research were among the topics addressed by Alex Silver, chairman and co-founder of EB Research Partnership and Representative Chris Van Hollen (MD-08) at Research!America’s Annual Members meeting held at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C. on March 11. Silver became an advocate for research after learning that his son Jackson, who is now seven years old, was diagnosed with a severe form of Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), a debilitating and potentially deadly genetic condition that causes internal and external blisters all over the body causing constant pain. In addition to...
Dear Research Advocate: At Research!America’s annual meeting yesterday Alex Silver, co-founder and CEO of the Epidermolysis Bullosa Research Partnership (EBRP), a member of Research!America, made a strong case for venture philanthropy as a common-sense approach to investing in research, particularly as it applies to rare diseases. He challenged us to think in new ways about nonprofit organizations, ways that reinforce both partnership and innovation. Patients like his 7-year-old son Jackson, for whom every day is a painful challenge, are waiting. (For more on spending on research as an investment vs. spending for consumption, see Norm Augustine’s timely essay .) Also at the annual meeting,...
Each blockbuster drug, every novel vaccine or innovative therapy now heralded as a lifesaving miracle had the humblest of beginnings – as a project in a scientist’s lab. Through years of study and millions of dollars invested, these discoveries became the groundbreaking treatments that changed people’s lives. A scientist’s idea and a medicine’s path to patients who need it is one of the best stories out there, and we at Spectrum get to tell it every day. Spectrum is a proud member of Research!America. We are a public relations firm serving clients exclusively in health, medicine and life science, and we share Research!America’s passion for medical research and the promise of scientific...
Dear Research Advocate: What’s the “right” amount of taxpayer funding for medical and health research? What are the ‘right’ policies for science? We are asked these question regularly. The announcement yesterday by Harold Varmus that he will leave the National Cancer Institute (NCI) at the end of this month reminded me that in Science in 1993, Dr. Varmus and fellow Nobel Laureate Michael Bishop, along with their then-colleague at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), Mark Kirchner, set forth an 11-point prescription for science policy. It is worth re-reading their approach to a set of problems that bear a striking similarity to those we face today, e.g: “The last decade has...
Dear Research Advocate: Appropriately, it was Jack Valenti, prominent former president of the Motion Pictures Association of America, who recommended to politicians that every speech should include the six words: “let me tell you a story.” Stories have impact in ways reports do not. Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking, a theoretical physicist diagnosed with a form of the motor-neuron disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), in The Theory of Everything , and Julianne Moore as Dr. Alice Howland, a fictional linguistics professor diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s, in Still Alice , were Academy Award winners last Sunday evening. These films grappled with devastating diagnoses for the...
Dear Research Advocate: The cover story of this month’s National Geographic describes the recent wave of science doubt as a “pop culture meme,” featuring in-the-news examples like climate change and vaccines, and discussion of tough challenges like replicability of research, scientific literacy (of note: increased science literacy has been shown to lead to increased polarization of opinion about science), and what is meant, anyway, by effective “science communication”? The article doesn’t mention what I often call the “invisibility” problem (see, for example, data showing low percentages of Americans who can name a living scientist ), but that topic was addressed directly and indirectly in...

Pages

Without research, there is no hope.
The Honorable Paul G. Rogers