Blog

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

For the second week in a row, an article on the West Nile outbreak has made The Washington Post’€™s top stories. On September 12, the Post responded to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports indicating that 2012 may be the deadliest year yet for West Nile in the United States. The article suggests that each year may only get worse as human travel increasingly brings us into contact with infected animals, and the viruses continue to evolve. There is currently no vaccine and no effective drugs to treat West Nile. With this growing threat, federal support for neglected tropical disease research has never been more urgent. This research is necessary in order to protect the health...
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), left, and Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) both spoke at the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network rally on Capitol Hill on Thursday. Behind them is Christopher Hansen, president of ACS-CAN. The American Cancer Society and its advocacy arm, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, kicked off its lobby day on Capitol Hill with a rally that urged Congress to preserve funding for research, prevention and treatment of cancer. But the event wasn’t just about cancer: Four Division I men’s basketball coaches also helped kick off the rally. But it wasn’t merely a token appearance. The coaches ’€” Tad Boyle of the University of Colorado, Paul Hewitt of George...
Dear Research Advocate, Congress is back in Washington but still in campaign mode, making its decisions with the election very much in mind. A 6-month continuing resolution (C.R.) is expected to pass momentarily. The C.R. would put off appropriations decision-making until the new Congress has gotten under way, flat-funding the government through March of next year at fiscal 2012 levels. The atmosphere of fiscal uncertainty for the agencies that fund research, and everyone seeking that funding, is in fact demoralizing in the extreme. Compounding the problem is that the C.R. does nothing to address the looming problem of sequestration, which is scheduled to take effect on January 2, 2013. The...
On Friday, September 7, at the National Institutes of Health campus, the Trans-NIH Global Health Working Group hosted a lecture titled, ’€œRapid, automated diagnostics for tuberculosis: a potential new benchmark.’€ Mark Perkins, MD, who has worked at the Global Tuberculosis Programme of the World Health Organization and is currently the chief scientific officer at the Foundation for New Innovative Diagnostics (FIND), discussed the development of a new testing method for tuberculosis. Identified as the cause of death for 1.4 million individuals in 2010, including people in the United States , TB is a significant global health concern. However, it is consistently underdiagnosed due to...
The Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation has announced the winners of its 2012 Awards : Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award: Michael Sheetz, PhD (Columbia University); James Spudich, PhD (Stanford University); and Ronald Vale, PhD (University of California San Francisco) Lasker~DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award: Sir Roy Calne (University of Cambridge, emeritus); Thomas E. Starzl, MD, PhD (University of Pittsburgh) Lasker~Koshland Special Achievement Award: Donald D. Brown, DSc (Carnegie Institute); Tom Maniatis, PhD (Columbia University) The winners were announced Monday. The seven men will be honored at a ceremony September 21 in New York. “The Lasker Awards celebrate biomedical...
23andMe ’€” the company helping individuals interpret their own DNA ’€” is hosting a Capitol Hill briefing September 13 that will focus on the role of crowd-sourcing as it relates to the future of research on Parkinson’s disease. The event will be held from noon to 1 p.m. at the House Visitors Center, Room 201. Speakers include Maryum Ali , daughter of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali and a Parkinson’s activist; former astronaut Rich Clifford , a Parkinson’s activist and patient; and Anne Wojcicki , co-founder and CEO of 23andMe. Crowd-sourcing has proven to be a successful method of researching Parkinson’s; 23andMe discovered two new genes associated with Parkinson’s using just this approach...
Dear Research Advocate, In last week’€™s letter, I highlighted research-related themes in the Republican National Platform. The good news included explicit support for basic and applied research and a pledge to make the R&D tax credit permanent. The bad news included strident criticism of FDA ’€” such that support for adequate funding was unclear ’€” and opposition to embryonic stem cell research. The Democratic platform asserts that Democrats will ’€œdouble funding for key basic research agencies.’€ It also goes further than the Republican platform in improving the research and development tax credit and places a very strong emphasis on science education as critical to our innovation...
As reported in the Washington Post, the number of West Nile virus cases in the U.S. is on the rise. Traditionally a disease that affects people in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, 48 states in the U.S. have reported cases in 2012 alone. Nearly 2,000 cases and 87 deaths, including one Wednesday in DC, have been reported overall. The West Nile virus, a neglected tropical disease or NTD, can cause flu-like symptoms or, in severe cases, even brain damage. Peter Hotez, MD, PhD, director of the Texas-based product development partnership Sabin Vaccine Institute, recently wrote a New York Times op-ed addressing the increasing thread of West Nile right here in the U.S., ’€œTropical Disease: The...
A recent unsigned editorial by Bloomberg View restates what we’ve been saying for some time: Americans are not immune from global health problems. The editorial focuses on West Nile virus and dengue, though there are certainly other diseases and conditions that were worthy of inclusion. Worldwide travel means diseases are more transmissible than ever, and climate change gives disease-carrying mosquitoes more hospitable climates, the editorial notes. And a lack of treatments exacerbates the problem. “Patients receive acetaminophen for fever and pain, fluids if they are dehydrated, and get-well wishes,” the editorial states. “No vaccines, no cures and no specific medicines exist to prevent or...
A recent editorial in The Washington Times by Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-CA) and John C. Reed, MD, PhD, chief executive officer of Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute , makes a parallel between President John F. Kennedy’s call for a lunar mission in 1962 and the future of medical research’s battle against cancer. In seven years, the authors note, America went from Kennedy’s proclamation to Neil Armstrong stepping out of the lunar module. (The op-ed ran two days before the legendary astronaut’s death.) Because of our understanding of cancer and the treatments we now have for it, the authors write, we are in a better position to conquer cancer than the space program in 1962. Moreover, they...

Pages

America’s economic destiny lies in innovation, technology, science and research.
The Honorable John E. Porter