21st Century Cures Act
21st Century Cures Act
The 21st century cures act is exciting news for researchers in the Biomedical Sciences by increasing funding to many areas under that umbrella term. This comes at a great time because due to the current political environment funding has been stagnant the past several years due to the “2013 US Federal Budget Sequestration”. This occurred due to the government shut down led by Congressional Republicans. This halted any increases in funding to the NIH, and several other departments, including the military. Also, with the funding future looking bleak in the climate science at the federal level with President-elect Trump coming in, this comes at a great time to relieve the Biomedical Science Researchers of their fears for funding.
But, enough politics, let’s break this new LAW down!
President Obama is quoted in the Washington Post saying, “We are bringing to reality the possibility of new breakthroughs to some of the greatest health-care challenges of our time,” Obama said. “It is wonderful to see how well Democrats and Republicans in the closing day of this Congress came together around a common cause. And I think it indicates the power of this issue and how deeply it touches every family across America.”
This type of bipartisanship is rare in the political climate we find ourselves in today, but when faced with insurmountable odds, the American people come together to tackle the major issues facing us today. This is exemplified in the main 5 point covered under the 21st Century Cures act. These 5 funding points include:
- Gives money to fight the opioid epidemic that is ravaging many parts of this country. Especially, white middle class Americans in the heartland of the country. $1 Billion is allocated for this initiative.
- The “Beau Biden Cancer Moonshot”- 8 Billion for Cancer Research projects through the NIH. This is designed to enhance the race to find the cures to the multitude of diseases classified as “cancer”. The initiative is named in honor of Vice President Joe Biden’s son who succumbed to brain cancer.
The final 3 initiatives will get the remaining $3 billion
- Funding BRAIN research initiative for research in diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Another goal is to map out the circuits of the brain, and give us an unprecedented in-depth look at how it communicates and operates on a cellular and molecular level!
- Funding for the President’s Precision Medicine Initiative to find cures and treatments that would be considered custom tailored to the patient. The new age of precision medicine offers to treat people individually, rather, than give everyone one blanket treatment. This would better serve the patients, and reduce the side effects associated with drugs. This could lead to genome sequencing being a routine event for all patients to give the best treatment for individuals.
- Bipartisan health polices such as suicide prevention and mental illness will be covered by the last initiative.
There are 3 other main points to this Law that will specifically help scientists in the field share new ideas and start research more quickly. There will be a reduction in red-tape that is associated with research. The first is a reduction in the paperwork associated with beginning new studies. This reduces the amount of bureaucracy associated with the review of new studies, and will give scientists a quicker avenue to pursue novel ideas. The second aspect of reducing paperwork of the Cures Act will allow government scientists to apply for traveling grants to more scientific conferences and meetings to share and discuss their ideas with their university counterparts. This third is the establishment of a database that is readily searchable, sharable, and convenient place for all research funded by the NIH to be accessed by scientists. This will allow the quick distribution of information, ant at the same time, get information around the field in a more readily available manner. This centralized hub will give researcher access to the ideas in the field in a way that can enhance collaboration, and cut out any wasteful research (such as two projects being very similar to come together and collaborate).
One exciting aspect of the law is the establishment of an office in the NIH designed to give funding to young, promising scientists in the field. This will lower the average age of an independent research grant from where it stands today at 42. This can encourage young scientists such as myself with more incentive to be creative, and devote our time and energy in a more concerted manner to achieve this at a younger age! This is some exciting news for all up and coming researchers in the field!