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Contributing to Our World through Scientific Progress

There is perhaps no better inspiration as we reach year end than the words of Sam Gill, President and CEO of the Doris Duke Foundation. In a statement that also ran as a full-page advertisement in the New York Times, he congratulates those responsible for contributing to the revolutionary CRISPR-based treatment for sickle cell disease that came to fruition in 2023. “This cure is not just a story about science conquering a terrible disease. It’s a story about how our society can advance in our unending quest to attain our highest ideals… That, together, we can be part of bending the arc of history toward health, prosperity, and justice for all.”

Read Sam’s full statement on this remarkable and long-awaited breakthrough that relied upon the combined efforts of NIH-funded scientists in academia, innovation provided by those in industry, the ‘risk capital’ put forward by a foundation (Doris Duke), and the often lengthy and painful engagement of patients and their families. May we see more such hope achieved in the year ahead!  

On The Hill: Speaking of 2024, when Congress returns from recess in January, we will be three months into FY24 with no resolution to funding negotiations in sight. During the 2023 holiday season, Americans are predicted to spend at least $957 billion on shopping – more than 20 times the entire NIH budget, which faces the threat of cuts too palpable to ignore. Please use this week’s #CuresNotCuts graphic to push Congress to feel the sense of urgency needed to move quickly on investments in funding for the NIH and other research agencies.

Don’t Miss: It’s going to be a rocky road ahead on appropriations. To help understand and navigate this, join us on Thursday, January 4, at 11:00 a.m. ET, for an off-the-record, members-only conversation with Erik Fatemi of Cornerstone Government Affairs. Erik will discuss the appropriations outlook and what it means for research advocacy, including the potential impact of the Fiscal Responsibility Act (debt limit legislation enacted in May 2023) on the NIH and other research agencies.

If your organization is a Research!America member, check your inboxes for registration information or reach out to Jacqueline Lagoy for more information.

Promoting Equity at the NIH: As she assumed her new position, in her first news conference, NIH Director Dr. Monica Bertagnolli noted: “Equity will guide my approach to leading NIH, including enhancing the inclusivity and accessibility of NIH-funded clinical research. In a message to reporters, Dr. Bertagnolli stated that clinical trials should, “… reflect the population who have the disease or the condition under study.” 

Our new survey, commissioned with the Association of Clinical Research Organizations, echoed Dr. Bertagnolli’s message on equity in clinical trials, finding that a majority of U.S. adults (85%) say it is important that clinical trials are representative of the nation’s population. Research!America will continue to work toward the goal of more equitable research – a vision that will pave the way for better science, as well as improved health care outcomes and better-tailored treatments for all individuals, regardless of background or identity.

Support Scientific Progress: As the year draws to a close, we invite you to consider making a meaningful contribution to support our shared vision of a world in which research thrives and transforms lives. Your donation, no matter the size, will make a significant impact. Please consider making a gift to Research!America today.

Speaking of Scientific Progress… Jason S. McLellan, PhD, Professor of Molecular Biosciences and Robert A. Welch Chair in Chemistry at the University of Texas at Austin, is no stranger to advancing life saving science. His extraordinary research has led to the development of the first FDA-approved vaccine for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and his laboratory was instrumental in the development of stabilizing substitutions needed to address coronavirus spike proteins that are found in all COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the U.S. – a truly amazing feat! For his noteworthy accomplishments, Dr. McLellan will receive Research!America’s 2024 Building the Foundation Award. Be sure to join us on March 13, 2024, for the 2024 Advocacy Awards and view our other prestigious award honorees.

Research!Americans will be taking a break next week; we will be back in touch in January. Meanwhile, stay well, stay safe, and stay connected. Happy holidays!