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Research!America is dedicated to ensuring a strong public and private sector investment in research to improve health at a level warranted by scientific opportunity and supported by public opinion. Member organizations and others share their perspectives on a wide variety of topics relating to public and private sector research and innovation, and public health. The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the view of Research!America.

Recent Blog Posts

An endeavor twelve years in the making, University of California, Berkeley researchers are celebrating a breakthrough in synthetic biology and malaria treatment. A research team led by chemical engineer Jay Keasling began with a straightforward’€”though not easy’€”goal of genetically reprogramming a simple single celled organism, yeast, so that it would produce a chemical compound normally only found in the sweet wormwood plant. This compound is the starting material for one of the most effective anti-malaria medications available on the market. Yet, because the compound was derived from a plant that grows in select areas around the world, the availability and price were inconsistent...
Dear Research Advocate, Senators Casey (D-PA) and Burr (R-NC), recently honored with our Whitehead Award for Research Advocacy, have joined forces again with a bipartisan letter calling for a strong commitment to NIH funding in FY 14. Please take a moment now to urge your senators to sign on to this letter. And say thank you to Senators Burr and Casey for being champions for research! In past letters, I’€™ve written about attempts by Congress to micromanage and in some cases, attack critical components of our nation’€™s research portfolio. The social sciences have been targeted time and time again despite the immense value of these programs and the return on investment they represent. In...
By Karen Elkins, PhD, a biomedical scientist and science writer currently working in the field of microbiology and immunology. How does the physiology of the human body respond to severe injuries and septic shock? Funded by NIH, over 50 researchers have been working on a decade-long set of large projects to analyze human tissues taken directly from seriously ill patients. The goal of this ambitious effort is to understand the body-wide inflammation that accompanies major injuries like trauma with blood loss, major burns, and septic shock from invasive bacterial infections. In a recent study from this program, researchers analyzed a series of blood samples obtained from three groups of...
A team of researchers from Research!America members Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital recently announced a major step forward in regenerative medicine: a working kidney has been grown in the laboratory. These findings and the hope they bring to thousands of Americans waiting for a kidney transplant would not have been possible without a significant investment in research by the National Institutes of Health, who funded this project. This research also would not have succeeded without the engineering and technology advances that created the specialized equipment that allowed for an entire organ to be grown in an incubator, pointing to a need to continue investing in...
As we continue to fight sequestration, Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Richard Burr (R-NC) have called for a strong commitment to NIH funding in FY 2014. We must urge our senators to sign-on to the bipartisan Casey-Burr letter right away. As you know, the stakes for research funding have never been higher. Research is a critical national investment that will save and improve lives while growing our economy. Make sure your senators get the message. Remember to share this alert on Facebook and with everyone in your network. Click here to contact your Senators today!
How much financial benefit do we reap from biomedical research? What are the economic gains that result from introduction of new medications, changes to personal health behavior or reworking the Medicare and Medicaid health systems? These and other questions were discussed at a recent Capitol Hill briefing on health economics research co-sponsored by Academy Health, Research!America and other organizations. In an era of skyrocketing medical costs, this type of research can provide vital information to policy makers and health care providers to reign in the costs of healthcare without compromising the quality of patient care. Health economics experts Mark McClellan, MD, PhD, of the Brookings...
The much-contested question of whether or not a gene can be patented is under judicial scrutiny once again. The U.S. Supreme Court listened to oral arguments today regarding Myriad Genetic’€™s patent of two genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, which have been linked to increased cancer risk in both women and men. The American Civil Liberties Union is challenging this patent on behalf of a group of researchers, medical groups and patients. The timing of the hearing is rather serendipitous, just one day after the 10 th anniversary of the completion of the Human Genome Project. The Human Genome Project, a jointly funded venture from the Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health, has opened...
Dear Research Advocate, The President’€™s budget is out and it’€™s a mixed bag. First, the good news. NSF was given a significant funding boost, $593M over 2012 levels, NIH funding was increased by $470M, and AHRQ, via budget trade-offs, looks to have been boosted by $64M. The increases are from FY12 to FY14, since the President’s budget replaces sequestration in a different way than either Congressional body (see more below). The not so good news in the President’s budget is that other health research agencies did not fare well. The CDC budget was cut deeply, especially prevention programs. FDA was essentially flat -funded. And entitlement-reform may pose a challenge to innovation. The...
The Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have valuable resources on their websites in recognition of National Minority Health Disparities month. This year, CDC and HHS are focusing on health equity and access to affordable healthcare for all. Health disparities can result from a number of factors ’€“ limited access to quality, affordable health care and preventative services, physical activity and fresh food and produce, and unhealthy environments at home and work. In 2009, health disparities among African-Americans and Hispanics cost private insurers an additional $5.1 billion. Indirect costs associated with...
On April 8, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) activated its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in response to the H7N9 influenza outbreak in China. H7N9 is the newest bird flu virus and has killed 8 and infected 20 other individuals in China. No cases have been found outside China, but the global health community, including CDC, is concerned because this is the first time this type of bird flu has been found in humans. In general, the EOC monitors emergency responses to public health threats and now that the center has been activated, more CDC resources will be devoted to monitoring the H7N9 outbreak. The EOC will provide ’€œresources, logistical support and avenues of...

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The capabilities are enormous, a little bit of research can pay off quite a bit in the long run.
Paul D’ Addario, retinitis pigmentosa patient