Spotlight

The Coalition for the Life Sciences (CLS) would like to thank Congress for its commitment to the federally funded life science enterprise.

National Institutes of Health

The CLS is pleased to see that Congress supported a $2...

 

It turns out, they like us, or so they say. Biomedical researchers should take note that for the second year in a row, U.S. Senate appropriators have declared funding the National Institutes of Health a...

Legislative Alerts

The Coalition for the Life Sciences Applauds Congress’ Support for Life Sciences

The Coalition for the Life Sciences (CLS) would like to thank Congress for its commitment to the federally funded life science enterprise.

National Institutes of Health

The CLS is pleased to see that Congress supported a $2 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for a FY17 funding level of $34 billion. This funding is critical to support the promising studies that serve to improve health. Additionally, it builds on the $2 billion increase provided in FY2016. For too long, NIH faced stagnant funding. These recent increases provide researchers the stability needed for future breakthroughs in human biology and disease.

National Science Foundation

Congress also increased funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF). The NSF received an additional $9 million for a FY17 budget of $7.5 billion. Congress has been debating revamping the NSF’s merit review process in order to prioritize scientific disciplines. We are pleased to see that this budget agreement ensures that the NSF retains the flexibility to respond nimbly to emerging areas of scientific interest.

Centers for Disease Control

Also gaining through this spending bill would be the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which could get a $22 million boost, to $7.3 billion. The CDC still struggles to fund the necessary resources for new and emerging threats but this increase is certainly a step forward.

Food and Drug Administration

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) received a nominal, and not unexpected, cut to the agency. This cut was a result of drug and medical device industries fee negotiations. Congress believes the FDA can absorb this cut through administrative savings and, thus, continue to meet its existing responsibilities. The CLS believes the FDA is in need of increased resources in order to do its job properly.

The CLS understands and appreciates the very difficult budget decisions Congress faces. We look forward to working with Congress and the Administration to continue to advance the nation’s biomedical research enterprise.

Congress and the NIH Spending Bill: The beginning of a beautiful friendship?

 

It turns out, they like us, or so they say. Biomedical researchers should take note that for the second year in a row, U.S. Senate appropriators have declared funding the National Institutes of Health a national priority. In a resource-constrained environment, the Senate Labor-Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee (Labor-HHS) recommended that the NIH be provided a $2 billion increase for FY17, recommending $34 billion for FY17.

“Investments in biomedical research will lower health care costs, spur medical innovation, sustain America’s competitiveness, and help more Americans live longer, healthier lives,” declared Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), chair of the Subcommittee, “I’m proud that we are establishing a pattern of responsibly investing in groundbreaking medical research for the second year in a row.”

The measure has broad support from Democrats, making it the first bipartisan Labor-HHS appropriations bill in seven years. Ranking Member Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) acknowledged, “Hard choices had to be made.”

The proposed increase includes an additional $100 million for the new Precision Medicine Initiative million-person cohort program, as well as an additional $400 million for Alzheimer’s disease research.  It also includes increases of $100 million for the BRAIN Initiative and $50 million for research to combat antimicrobial resistance. 

The bill outlines increased funding for every NIH Institute and Center. The new money is to support investments that advance science and speed the development of new therapies, diagnostics, and preventive measures, all to improve the American health. This is great news for basic scientists. This proposed funding will enable researchers throughout the U.S. to answer new support in fields such as cell biology, biophysics, genetics, developmental biology, and so many other areas.

The House has not yet written its own version of the NIH bill. However, Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), the chair of the House Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee, has recently gone out of his way to state his public supportive for the NIH and pledged to include a $2 billion increase in the House bill.

“It’s terrific to see bipartisan support for biomedical research, but there’s still a long way to go before this bill gets signed into law,” warns Keith Yamamoto, chair of the CLS. “We will continue to engage Congress on this bill to ensure the best outcome for NIH-funded researchers.”

Meanwhile all eyes turn to the House to see whether biomedical research is the object of true Congressional love or just a passing fiscal fancy.

 

Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus Briefing

Chromothripsis and the Legacy of Henrietta Lacks

Dr. David Pellman
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Noon-1:00 p.m.
Room 2168, Rayburn House Office Building

Boxed lunches will be available for attendees

One of the features of many cancers is the loss of genome integrity. One of the most stunning examples of this is chromothripsis. Chromothripsis involves the shuffling or rearrangement of chromosomes. Dr. Pellman will discuss how he and his lab have been able to define and explain one of the reasons for chromothripsis. His discovery allows the scientific community to use genomic information in a new way and to better understand human disease.

The true legacy of Henrietta Lacks and her famous HeLa cells, the first immortal human cell line, is how they have enabled so much scientific discovery. Dr. Pellman has also benefited from HeLa cells, in part because they have chromothripsis. This is just one aspect of the enduring importance of HeLa for scientific advancement. Reflecting on the legacy of Henrietta Lacks enables us to emphasize the central role of patients and their families in the communal effort behind biomedical discovery and the eradication of human disease.

RSVP
Lynn Marquis
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This is a widely attended event