medical research

Dear Research Advocate: You have by now heard about the ALS ’€œice bucket’€ challenge (show support for ALS research by dumping a bucket of ice water over your head and/or writing a check for $100 to the ALS Association, then challenge three others to do the same.) Whether viewed as a welcome late-summer distraction from imponderables like conflict in the Middle East, on-going clashes in Ferguson, Mo., or the mounting death toll from Ebola, or, rather, as the emergence of a new kind of advocacy similar to what produced the walks, runs and bike-rides for research that are ubiquitous today, the ’€œice bucket challenge’€ is worthy of attention. I think that public attention to the ’€œice...
Colorized transmission electron micrograph revealing some of the ultrastructural morphology displayed by an Ebola virus virion. Photo credit: Frederick A. Murphy The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sent more than 50 disease detectives and other highly trained experts to West Africa to battle Ebola. While here in the U.S., more than 350 CDC staff are working on logistics, communications, analytics, management and other functions to support the response 24/7 at CDC’€™s Emergency Operations Center.’€œWe are fulfilling our promise to the people of West Africa, Americans, and the world, that CDC would quickly ramp up its efforts to help bring the worst Ebola outbreak in history...
Excerpt of an article published in the Imperial Valley News . Each year in the United States, nearly 16,000 kids are diagnosed with cancer. And on any given day, as many as 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’€™s disease. Beyond its debilitating symptoms, the death rate for Alzheimer’€™s is on the rise. But there are steps you can take to protect your family from these potentially devastating medical conditions. One idea that may come as a surprise to many Americans is to contact your congressional representatives and the candidates for their seats. That’€™s the suggestion of a national, nonpartisan, voter education initiative called ’€œAsk Your Candidates!’€ designed to empower...
Dear Research Advocate: As I write, most members of Congress are on the way home for August recess. As anticipated, no further action has been taken on the appropriations front ’€“ or much else, for that matter. In terms of issues we care about: no movement on tax reform, which means no much-needed enhancement of the research and development tax credit; no repeal of the medical device tax; and no final passage of Fiscal Year 2015 appropriations bills. In upcoming letters I will talk in more detail about Capitol Hill-focused advocacy strategies through the election and beyond. In the absence of legislative action, some attention ’€“ in a bipartisan manner ’€“ is being given to research for...
Ask Your Senators to Support the Accelerating Biomedical Research Act Funding to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has remained flat in recent years, and uncertainty is growing over the ability of universities and other research institutions to conduct the noncommercial medical research underlying new preventative measures, diagnostic tools, treatments, and cures. In response to significant concerns about the erosion of NIH’€™s purchasing power, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) has introduced legislation, the Advancing Biomedical Research Act, that empowers Congress to provide up to 10% increases in NIH funding for FY 2015 and FY 2016, and up to 5% increases through 2021. These increases are...
Dear Research Advocate: Today, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) ’€” one of the most effective and dedicated champions of medical and health research ever to serve in public office ’€” introduced major new legislation, the Accelerate Biomedical Research Act. This visionary legislation would increase the budget caps in order to boost National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding to $46.2 billion by FY 2021, a strategy for restoring NIH purchasing power without cutting into funding for other national priorities. You can view my statement on the legislation here and our thank you letter to the Senator here . It would be terrific if you would write a letter of support for the legislation and send a...
Research!America’€™s newest fact sheet series highlights the personal stories of medical research and the importance of increasing the NIH budget in FY15. We hope you will share these fact sheets with your representatives or congressional candidates, or take it with you on Hill or in-district visits. No one who reads these stories can doubt the significance of medical progress. A stronger investment in research is needed now more than ever! Here are their stories: John Hudson Dilgen, Epidermolysis Bullosa Steve DeWitte, Parkinson’s disease Victor Medina, Traumatic Brain Injury Carrie Scott, Multiple Sclerosis Max Hasenauer, X-linked agammaglobulinemia Michael Moskowitz, non-Hodgkin’s...
Excerpt of an op-ed by Society for Neuroscience Early Career Science Policy Fellow Matthew J. Robson, PhD, published in The Tennessean . The United States has historically been a consistent, international force of innovation and advancement in biomedical research. Such research is not possible without federal funding of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services. Although the NIH supports basic biomedical research aimed at a greater understanding of the causes of disease and the improved health of all Americans, relatively few understand the scope of the accomplishments of this agency. Research that depends upon NIH funding has...
Excerpt of an op-ed by Research!America Chair The Hon. John E. Porter and Research!America Board member The Hon. Kweisi Mfume published in The Hill . The Hon. John E. Porter The Hon. Kweisi Mfume The value of innovation has captured the attention of policymakers as they debate the merits of federally funded medical and health research. There is clearly bi-partisan support for research but battle lines have been deeply drawn over funding for research agencies in this tight fiscal climate. The National Institutes of Health ’€“ the world’€™s leading funder of game-changing basic medical research – and other agencies contributing to the research pipeline are still affected by sequestration, the...
Dear Research Advocate: Today, June 5, is a milestone in our Ask Your Candidates! (AYC!) voter education initiative. Today is the culmination of 5 by June 5 , a nationwide push to encourage voters to ask their candidates about the priority of medical progress and encourage five others to do the same. There is still time for you to join us! Click here to send a message to the candidates running for House and Senate in your district . You can customize the message to include your personal reasons for supporting medical research or you can just click send on the message we’€™ve provided. In this case, it doesn’€™t just take a village, it takes a nation. Please help us reach voters in every...

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Without continued support for health research, many of the most promising young scientists, their ideas and a myriad of potentially life-changing scientific breakthroughs will vanish into oblivion.
Paul Marinec, PhD; University of California San Francisco