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This op-ed appeared online on Roll Call July 31, 2015. New technology such as CRISPR-Cas9, a genuine scientific breakthrough, is raising hope for patients with cancer, cystic fibrosis, sickle-cell anemia and other major health threats. The gene editing tool, used in precision medicine, allows changes to be introduced into the DNA of any living cell— potentially enabling repair of disease causing mutations, neutralization of disease carrying insects, and much more. This technology, developed with support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Science Foundation (NSF), is an example of the realization of the promise of innovative research funded by our federal science...
I am sending my letter early this Thursday to give readers who support the NIH and FDA funding in the 21st Century Cures Act -- most of you, based on the emails and calls I’ve been receiving -- a little more time to take action. The House is slated to vote on the 21st Century Cures Act (HR 6) tomorrow. As part of the process they will first vote on amendments, including one offered by Congressman Dave Brat (R-VA-07) to eliminate the $8.75 billion in mandatory funding for NIH and $550 million for FDA. I can’t stress the importance of stopping this amendment strongly enough: opportunities like this to fund significantly more research do not present themselves often.This is $8.75 billion for...
Dear Research Advocate: There is a flurry of activity in Washington. Not only has the Supreme Court ruled on King v. Burwell , but the House and Senate Appropriations Committees have wrapped up consideration of their respective “Labor-H” appropriations bills, regular order we haven't seen for six years. The implications of the Supreme Court ruling are far-reaching, but one political effect could be a return to partisan gridlock in Congress. We can't let that get in the way of passage of 21st Century Cures Act. Please contact your representative in the House and ask them to champion 21st Century Cures. Whether or not they are among the 206 (!) bipartisan cosponsors to date, the more noise we...
Dear Research Advocate: After years of attending to other priorities and taking an “on cruise-control” approach to science, Congress has turned the corner with enthusiasm and determination! Clay Alspach and Tim Pataki from Energy and Commerce Chairman Upton’s staff joined Research!America members on Tuesday to discuss 21st Century Cures. They asked us to help assure a robust and bipartisan list of cosponsors for the bill. Please take a moment to ask your representative to sign-on, or thank him or her for cosponsoring. Please also consider joining one, two or all three of these sign-on letters: UMR , Ad Hoc , NHC . We have final figures for the joint online survey by The Science Advisory...
Dear Research Advocate: That so many well-informed patient advocates are working for House passage of the 21st Century Cures bill (H.R. 6) is an excellent indication of just how important this legislation is to all of us looking for answers to what (literally) ails us. This makes it all the more puzzling that there aren’t more supporters weighing in from the science community. It may be because many don’t know about the bill yet -- a preliminary report from a poll of scientists we have in the field right now shows that only one in 5 members of the science community say they have heard of the bill. If you are a researcher and a regular reader of this letter, I know you know about it! Will...
Today, Research!America urged the 114th Congress to take action on five science priorities in the first 100 days of the legislative session in order to elevate research and innovation on the nation’s agenda: Advance the 21st Century Cures Initiative. Spearheaded by Representatives Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Diana DeGette (D-Colo.),the initiative is a promising step in the right direction, focusing on speeding medical progress from bench-to-bedside by integrating patient perspectives into the regulatory process, modernizing clinical trials, and reducing red tape, among other things. Repeal the medical device tax. A provision in the Affordable Care Act, efforts to repeal the medical device tax...
The tiny increases included in the “Cromnibus” bill for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and our nation’s other health research agencies are just that. The underwhelming support for the NIH, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Science Foundation and the Food and Drug Administration following years of stagnant funding and budget cuts begs the question – how low can we go, given health threats the likes of which stand to bankrupt the nation? And the decision to flat-fund the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality does not provide what it takes to reduce the much-complained of inefficiencies in our health care system. The pain and economic drain of one...
Dear Research Advocate: This week’€™s CDC announcement of the worst-case Ebola scenario is staggering. Saying, ’€œLet’€™s be honest with ourselves ’€¦’€ President Obama addressed the UN this morning on the escalating threat posed by Ebola, urging world leaders to work together to address this truly global crisis. The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) program, which received additional funding for Ebola drug development as part of the recently passed continuing resolution (CR), is a terrific example of how the public and private sectors can work together to develop drugs for national and global health threats like Ebola. BARDA provides market incentives so that...
Federally-funded research projects that have advanced medical innovation will be on full display at the BIO International Convention Innovation Zone June 23 ’€“ 26 in San Diego. Among the new technologies, a device to prevent secondary cataract formation developed with a National Institutes of Health SBIR grant awarded to Sharklet Technologies , Inc. Secondary cataract, a serious complication of cataract surgery, occurs in 25% to 50% of patients. This complication requires a follow-up laser treatment which presents an additional risk to patients and adds more than $300 million in medical costs per year in the U.S. The novel device, a micro-patterned membrane designed to be integrated into a...
Dear Research Advocate: The doubling of the National Institutes of Health budget between FY99 and FY03 is an example of Congress at its most productive ’€¦ and it hinged on bipartisanship. A small group of Republicans and Democrats recognized the power of medical progress, and they worked together to increase the budget baseline for NIH by nearly $11.5 billion. Without that doubling, and with the stagnation of virtually all non-defense discretionary funding that followed on its heels, which groundbreaking medical discoveries would still lie dormant? Which of those we hold dear would not be alive today? Research!America Chair and former Congressman John Porter, who chaired the House Labor-...

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We have health challenges in this country that science will provide answers for if given the chance and we haven't given science that opportunity
Mary Woolley, President and CEO, Research!America