basic science

Being in the middle of a global pandemic feels unsettling and frightening. Part of that fear is rooted in the unknown, because we still have many unanswered questions: fundamental information researchers don’t know about the coronavirus and how viruses like it will act in the future. At the moment, we’re rightly focused on urgent issues such as securing personal protective equipment and ventilators. But we need more research, because to win the battle we need to understand our enemy so that better diagnosis, treatment, and prevention will become a reality. As I wrote recently in USA Today , “Rarely in recent memory has it been this difficult to see beyond the next day. ... But that is...
Investing in basic science helps fuel the U.S. economy and society in general. However, as science investments stagnate, there’s a growing concern that other countries will outpace the U.S. in research and development. The American Association for the Advancement of Science hosted a panel discussion February 22 highlighting the benefits of basic research in a new report, “ The Future Postponed 2.0: Why Declining Investment in Basic Research Threatens a U.S. Innovation Deficit . ” The report is a collection of scientific advances written by researchers that highlight the role basic science plays in innovation. “If we don’t make the investments [in research], we short ourselves and even more...
Alan I. Leshner, PhD In a recent op-ed published in the Toronto Star Dr. Alan Leshner, Research!America board member, writes that federal deficits in the United States and Canada ’€œpose a significant threat’€ to basic research. He notes that ’€œsome policy-makers seem to value near-term, industry-focused science more highly.’€ But adds that basic science has larger potential payoffs than applied research. ’€œThe most well-known example of life-changing basic research is of course Sir Alexander Fleming ’€™s accidental 1928 discovery of a mould (penicillin) that seemed to repel bacteria. German physicist Wilhelm Röntgen ’€™s 19th century efforts to pass cathode rays through glass now...
Scientists at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center , a Research!America member, have successfully treated a handful of leukemia patients with cutting-edge immune cell therapy. This therapy, similar to previous trials at the University of Pennsylvania and the National Cancer Institute, modifies the patient’€™s immune cells so that they recognize and kill the cancer cells. This experimental therapy provides a new avenue of treatment for patients who have undergone all of the traditional treatments like chemotherapy without achieving remission of the cancer. Read more about this exciting breakthrough in this New York Times article . The study’€™s senior author, Michael Sadelain, MD, PhD,...

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