fetal tissue research

Dear Research Advocate, Research!America board member and APHA Executive Director Dr. Georges Benjamin addressed a recent alliance meeting, discussing three epidemics: COVID-19: Emerging infectious disease; Infodemic: Misinformation and disinformation; and Epidemic of Fear: Fear of the unknown, complicated by misstatements and poor risk communication by a range of actors in a rapidly moving communication environment. Dr. Benjamin emphasized the importance of correcting misinformation – not letting bad information go unchecked. He also suggested we talk about “physical” distancing rather than “social” distancing because being social is important to our health and well-being and shouldn’t be...
Dear Research Advocate, Partnering with the National Disease Research Interchange (NDRI), Research!America commissioned a survey released this week finding that not only do Americans strongly support organ and tissue donation for research, they believe it is important to encourage more people to donate for both medical and research purposes. Respondents admire those who donate for research as well as for transplant. We may be at an important inflection point with more research made possible because more people will donate. Speaking of surveys, the AAAS Annual Meeting last week was jam-packed with programs about how the public trusts (or mostly trusts) science and appreciates scientific...
Dear Research Advocate, Last summer, the administration announced a new policy targeting fetal tissue research. The Washington Post reported this week on the troubling consequences for scientists, scientific progress, and thus patients. Research!America stood with patients and researchers against this retrograde policy change when it was first contemplated and, as part of a coalition led by the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISCCR), we continue to push back. (It’s well to remember that fetal tissue research is not only playing a significant role today in research for vaccine development, Down syndrome, MS, and Parkinson’s, but its untapped potential holds significance for...
Dear Research Advocate, Our guest author this week is Jenny Luray, Research!America’s Senior Advisor. Before traveling home for the August district work period, the House finally passed legislation to raise the budget caps by a vote of 284 - 149. Monday evening brought the welcome announcement that the White House and congressional leadership had reached a bipartisan, bicameral budget deal . The deal lifts the caps, increasing federal spending levels in FY2020 and FY2021, and also raises the debt ceiling. Specifically, the deal increases non-defense discretionary spending by $27 billion in FY20 and $2.5 billion in FY21. It prevents a $55 billion cut from occurring and instead bolsters the...
Dear Research Advocate, The House is working to reach its goal of passing all twelve FY20 appropriations bills by the end of June, debating a “minibus” package of four of those bills this week, including the Labor, HHS, and Education funding bill that includes funding for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Next week, a second “minibus” package of appropriations bills will be on the House Floor, including funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA). (As time goes on without a budget cap resolution, it remains critical to do your part to assure a...
Dear Research Advocate, In a recent weekly letter, I mentioned that advocacy in support of fetal tissue research continued to be critical, despite the apparent lull in an Administration effort to evaluate how to curtail/replace this avenue of research. Apparent is the operative word. Yesterday, the Administration announced that an NIH fetal tissue research-related contract with UCSF will not be renewed; intramural researchers at NIH will no longer be able to procure fetal tissue for research; and another layer of review will be imposed on all those seeking federal funding for fetal tissue research. Read our statement , an Axios article, and, most importantly, contact Eric Anthony ( eanthony...
Dear Research Advocate: Research!America had the opportunity this week to attend a Senate NIH Caucus meeting featuring Dr. Jennifer Doudna, the world-renowned biochemist at UC Berkeley, who is a pioneer in the field of gene editing. A big thank you to Jed Manocherian and ACT for NIH for working with Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) to bring Dr. Doudna to Capitol Hill to discuss the powerful new technology known as CRISPR, which has potentially curative applications for diseases such as sickle cell and cancer. Here is a list of current Senate NIH Caucus members. Take a moment to send your Senators an email urging them to join if they are not already members. Congress has just six days to act...
Dear Research Advocate: This week has been rife with chilling public health news. You may have seen the widely-covered announcement that life expectancy in the United States has once again dropped, driven for a third year in a row by opioid (including fentanyl) abuse, a surge in suicide, especially in rural areas, and a spike in flu deaths. A sustained decline in life expectancy has not been seen in the U.S. for a century, since the devastation of World War I and the Pandemic flu of 1918. Read the full story . Also in the news are climate reports pointing to interconnected global health risks that are not going to go away on their own. Research and innovation are essential to ensuring our...
Dear Research Advocate: Earlier this week I had the privilege of meeting with and addressing faculty and students at Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences and at Rutgers University. During both trips, it was truly energizing to witness the enthusiasm, and sense of accountability, more and more scientists (on every rung of the career ladder) have for influencing the direction of federal research funding and policy. I hope my presentations reinforced and bolstered those terrific instincts...at least that was the goal! As always, I learned easily as much as I shared, including being introduced to an innovative science communication course Rutgers has shaped for doctoral students...
Dear Research Advocate: I am especially pleased to report that the House passed the Labor-H/Defense FY19 appropriations conference report yesterday, by a vote of 361-61. The President has said he will sign the bill, thus avoiding a partial government shutdown with its myriad negative consequences (including the toll on medical and public health progress). Please do as we have and say thank you to Congressional leadership for passing this bill in timely fashion, with funding that supports putting research to work to find the solutions to what ails us. Of particular note, the bill includes a $2 billion increase for NIH, as well as increases for other federal health agencies under HHS auspices...

Sidebar Quote

Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed.
Abraham Lincoln