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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

Burr and Casey to Receive the Edwin C. Whitehead Award for Medical Research Advocacy at Research!America’€™s Advocacy Awards Dinner on March 13 Alexandria, Va. ’€“ February 6, 2013 ’€“Sens. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Bob Casey (D-PA) will receive the Edwin C. Whitehead Award for Medical Research Advocacy for their leadership and strong support of federal and private sector medical research and innovation. Sens. Burr and Casey have worked individually and in a bipartisan manner to promote a robust medical research pipeline in the U.S. and ensure patients receive access to new, safe and effective treatments and technologies on a timely basis. ’€œSenators Burr and Casey exemplify what it means to...
On February 4, Aeras released the results of a clinical trial of one of their TB vaccine candidates. The trial was conducted in South Africa with nearly 3,000 infants and while the vaccine was safe and well-tolerated, ultimately it was not found to provide protection against TB. Although the results were not what researchers had hoped, the trial was the first of its kind and proved that a large-scale clinical trial to test a TB vaccine in infants can be successfully run in a country with a high TB burden like South Africa. Researchers also pointed out that there are twelve other TB vaccines in clinical development and the infrastructure built through this trial can be used to test these...
On January 23, the NIH announced that a Phase I clinical trial for a dengue vaccine candidate has yielded promising results . Dengue is a potentially lethal virus which causes severe fever, headaches, and rashes. WHO estimates that 50 to 100 million cases of dengue occur worldwide each year, including here in the U.S., and has recently warned of the possibility of a global dengue epidemic. The results of the trial, in which 90% of participants developed some immunity to the virus, represent a significant breakthrough in the development of a safe and effective dengue vaccine. The vaccine costs just $1 to produce, making it cost effective and ideal for future distribution to developing...
Dear Research Advocate, Sequestration is barreling down on us. With the clock ticking to March 1, there are disturbing indications that Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle are prepared to let sequestration move forward. It sounds much too painless to make cuts to a category called ’€œdiscretionary’€ ’€” the very word invites belt-tightening ’€” not to mention that this blanket term masks the importance of the programs that would again be damaged (the Budget Control Act took the first swipe at them, and the fiscal cliff agreement, the second). We need to unleash the power of advocacy to put human faces on the rhetoric. We know the reasons research can’€™t be cut without severe...
January 31, 2013 Dr. Carolyn Clancy has been a stalwart champion of medical and health services research during her decade-long leadership at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), stressing the importance of evidence in formulating policies to address gaps in care and improve health care delivery. She spearheaded innovative evidence-based programs to tackle some of our most challenging and complex healthcare issues. Under her leadership, AHRQ has conducted and funded research to ensure that patient care is as safe and efficient as possible, and launched the first annual report to Congress on health care disparities and health care quality. Clancy recognizes the importance...
Dear Research Advocate, With the world listening, President Obama acknowledged the importance of science, STEM education and research to our nation’€™s economic competitiveness and, more generally, to the future our children face. Many Republicans have voiced similar views. While it is heartening that policy makers on both sides of the aisle believe in research, they also must cut dollars from the federal budget. The president noted this in his speech and also mentioned the need to tame rising health care costs. The intersection of research, rising health care costs, and deficit reduction is the exact spot where advocates need to jump in. As policy makers grapple with how to control health...
In November 2012, the Hudson Institute and the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases released a Social and Economic Impact Review on Neglected Tropical Diseases . The report, which was the culmination of a comprehensive research and policy analysis study, outlined the economic and social impact of seven of the most common NTDs including lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, trachoma, schistosomiasis, hookworm, ascariasis and trichuriasis. These diseases impose a huge economic burden by causing roughly 46-57 million years of healthy life lost due to premature death or years lived with a disability. The report also quantified the economic burden in terms of lost productivity caused...
On January 17, the Hudson Institute and the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases held a briefing event to discuss their recently released report, Social and Economic Impact Review on Neglected Tropical Diseases . In addition to negative health outcomes, the report highlights the social and economic costs of these deadly diseases and argues that NTD control and elimination programs are a cost effective public health measure. For example, Michael Kremer, Gates professor of Developing Societies at Harvard University, discussed de-worming as an extremely cost effective development intervention. Several studies around the world, including in the southern United States, have shown that...
On January 16, Uniting to Combat NTDs released ’€œ From Promises to Progress ,’€ the first annual report on the London Declaration on NTDs. The report details the progress made by global partners that signed onto the London Declaration one year ago. Notable successes include leading pharmaceutical companies donating treatments for 100% of drug requests in endemic countries and the development of new NTD control plans in over forty countries. The past year has also seen regulatory approval for two new NTD diagnostics: a new test for lymphatic filariasis and the first rapid test for sleeping sickness developed by the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics . Alongside this report, WHO also...
Dear Research Advocate, President Obama delivered a comprehensive plan for stemming gun violence yesterday, identifying, among other components, a renewed role for federally funded research. (Prohibitions enacted by Congress in the mid-1990s and expanded in 2011 have largely prevented federal agencies from funding firearms-related research.) An executive memorandum signed by the president on Wednesday directs CDC to conduct research on the causes of gun violence and ways to prevent it. Restrictions on research that informs federal policy are counterproductive to sound governance. With the benefit of research findings, policy makers can identify the most effective strategies for preventing...

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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