NIH

“Sixteen years ago we had in front of us, for the first time ever, the order of the three billion letters that make up the human genome,” began Dr. Eric Green , Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) . Genetic sequencing and genomics have come a long way since 2003, when the Human Genome Project announced the completion of the first full sequence of the human genome. At the “ Human Genome to Precision Medicine ” briefing hosted by the Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus and the Coalition for the Life Sciences , Dr. Green discussed the triumphs, advances, and ongoing challenges unfolding around genomics. The cost of sequencing that first genome was around $1...
Dear Research Advocate, Yesterday, the House Appropriations Committee passed the Fiscal Year 2020 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies funding bill. While there is great news in the bill, it must be considered in the grim context of the across the board cuts that will happen if Congress does not act to raise the budget caps. Our statement addresses both the good and bad news. The bill, which Congressional leadership is expected to bring to the House floor in June, includes more than $8.25 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over $41 billion for the National Institutes of Health, and $358 million for the Agency for Healthcare Research and...
Dear Research Advocate: Yesterday, the House Budget Committee approved (on a party-line vote, 19-17) legislation that would raise the fiscal year 2020 (FY20) non-defense discretionary (NDD) spending cap by $631 billion, a 5.7 percent increase over the 2019 cap, and raise the defense cap by $664 billion, a 2.6 percent increase. The House is expected to consider the legislation on the floor early next week. The fact that legislation to raise the caps is being considered signals important progress. Our science-focused Raise the Caps campaign and other individual and collaborative advocacy efforts like that of NDD United are pushing hard for action, because -- as Senate Appropriations Chair,...
Dear Research Advocate: Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier, the Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, gave his first public address at the AAAS Annual Meeting last Friday. He discussed the importance of taking stock of the entire research and development enterprise, in order to provide a clear picture of U.S. capabilities in a global context that features other nations “nipping at our heels,” and then, drawing on this assessment — as well as the enduring values of our nation — to plan for the future in ways we haven’t seen since the Vannevar Bush report, The Endless Frontier , appeared after WWII. Droegemeier also emphasized the importance of strengthening partnerships...
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: At our post-election briefing this morning at AAAS in Washington, DC, the discussion focused on opportunities for advocacy given the composition and characteristics of the new Congress, and the importance of building new champions from among the nearly 100 new members of Congress. Of note — at last count, there are seven science-trained new members, a very welcome development! There is no doubt that a divided Congress can cause gridlock, but inaction is not a foregone conclusion, as was emphasized by our Chair, the Hon. Michael N. Castle. There are important, science-relevant issues, such as infrastructure, STEM education, and the opioid crisis, that both parties...
Dear Research Advocate: Last week, the White House laid out its plan for all Cabinet departments to trim their proposed FY20 budgets by 5%. If, as anticipated, these cuts begin with the FY20 spending caps signed into law in 2011 (so-called ‘sequestration’), rather than actual FY19 budgets, the proposed cuts could be shockingly deep—in the 25% range. The potential impact on the NIH budget alone could be a cut of $9.77B, wiping out the increases of the last few years to the point of returning to 2013 funding levels and, when adjusting for inflation, 2001 spending power. Other agencies could take equivalent hits, compromising progress in achieving health goals and sending a clear message to...
Dear Research Advocate: Earlier today, Rob Smith and Kim Monk of Capital Alpha Partners, and Pete Kirkham of Red Maple Consulting joined Research!America alliance members to discuss the near and mid-term outlook for congressional action on drug pricing, the state of play on appropriations, and other research-relevant issues. Although our speakers noted that much can change in the final week before the election, there were several key takeaways. First, it’s safe to say that the uncertainties surrounding the election and the ongoing interest (both in Congress and the White House) in addressing rising healthcare costs means that drug pricing and issues related to the supply chain more...
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...
Dear Research Advocate: Big news: it appears a Labor-H/Defense appropriations “conference report” (i.e. final bill) will clear Congress and reach the President’s desk before the September 30 deadline. Earlier this week, we sent a letter urging conferees Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Representative Tom Cole (R-OK), and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) to push for the highest funding levels possible for NIH, CDC, AHRQ and CDMRP given the boundaries set by the House and Senate versions of the legislation. This just in: a summary of the conference report . A preliminary read (emphasis on “preliminary”) indicates that the conferees did indeed opt for favorable funding...

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Funding research gives all of us a better chance of living a healthier life.
Pam Hirata, heart disease survivor