President Obama Calls for Sustained Investment in Research
January 26, 2012
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
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President Obama Calls for Sustained Investment in Research Bethesda, MD - In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama presented the nation with a new economic blueprint which includes maintaining our commitment to funding research and development that can improve our quality of life. Noting that "innovation also demands basic research," the President urged Congress not to gut investments in the nation's research budgets. He also pointed out that students come from all over the world to train at American research institutions. "Don't let other countries win the race for the future. Support the same kind of research and innovation that led to the computer chip and the internet," he stated.
Joseph C. LaManna, PhD, President of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) responded, "We enthusiastically support the President's emphasis on innovation and join him in urging Congress to maintain the federal commitment to research. It is abundantly clear that research-based innovation has dramatically improved the quality of life for Americans and people around the world. Sustainable budgets allow scientists to pursue new ideas and address scientific challenges with increased sophistication. Our best hope for future progress remains a strong commitment to science and technology."
LaManna also praised the President for acknowledging that public research dollars have helped develop advanced technologies. "Basic research funded by the federal government is at the heart of medical progress, but it is the kind of investment that no individual or private business could afford to undertake. If we do not have public support for the investigation of fundamental scientific principles, this work would not be done," stated LaManna.
FASEB sincerely appreciates President Obama's commitment to maintaining the nation's research enterprise and will soon launch a new campaign to encourage biomedical scientists and engineers to become more involved in advocacy for science.
FASEB is composed of 26 societies with more than 100,000 members, making it the largest coalition of biomedical research associations in the United States. Celebrating 100 Years of Advancing the Life Sciences in 2012, FASEB is rededicating its efforts to advance health and well-being by promoting progress and education in biological and biomedical sciences through service to our member societies and collaborative advocacy.
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NIH To Offer New Clinical Research Opportunity
The National Institutes of Health has launched a new program in conjunction with the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation that will provide medical doctors with funding for patient-focused, clinical research projects. The goal is to bridge the widening gap between cutting-edge research and improved patient care.
The initiative, called the Lasker Clinical Research Scholars Program, enables exceptional clinical researchers in the early stages of their careers to first spend 5 to 7 years at the NIH Clinical Center, the world's largest hospital dedicated to patient-oriented research, in Bethesda, Md.
Upon successful completion of this first stage, the scholars would be offered the opportunity to remain at the NIH as senior clinical research scientists or to apply for up to four years of independent financial support at a university or other external research institution.
"Stable and extended funding is crucial for clinical research. The time needed to develop therapies and to take them from the laboratory bench to the patient bedside is significant," said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.
"The number of U.S. physician-researchers has declined dramatically since the 1980s," Collins added. "The Lasker Clinical Research Scholars Program will grow the diminishing pool of talented clinical researchers at the NIH and at academic institutions by giving them the necessary financial support to establish their careers."
The Lasker Scholar program represents a historic partnership between the NIH intramural research program, with its extensive portfolio of research projects conducted in federal labs and facilities, and the extramural program, whose funding supports most of the U.S. university-based biomedical research effort. "We are offering the best of both worlds," said Michael Gottesman, M.D., NIH deputy director for intramural research.
Through an arrangement with the Lasker Foundation, scholars will have the opportunity to interact with Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award winners, who will help serve as mentors, as well as participate in many Lasker meetings and award ceremonies. The program honors the contributions of Mary and Albert Lasker to the NIH and to the overall biomedical community.
"The Lasker Foundation is proud to partner with the NIH in this important translational research initiative which will foster the next generation of physician-scientists, and harness basic biological research for the benefit of patients, society, and the world," said Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation President, Dr. Maria Freire.
The program hopes to accept at least five clinical researchers per year for the next decade, if not longer.
"This effort is in response to numerous calls from high-level review groups as well as our own strong belief that we need to do more to encourage and foster clinical research careers in the current economic climate," said Sally J. Rockey, Ph.D., NIH deputy director for extramural research.
"This is a substantial financial commitment that we believe will pay off in terms of developing treatments and cures," said Collins.
More information about the Lasker Clinical Research Scholars Program is available at http://sourcebook.od.nih.gov/laskerscholar/.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) -- The Nation's Medical Research Agency -- includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.
This NIH News Release is available online at:
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FASEB Expresses Disappointment In Stem Cell Ruling
Bethesda, MD – The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) is profoundly disappointed in the Federal District Court injunction barring federal funds for human embryonic stem cell research. “The decision is a huge blow to potentially life-saving biomedical research,” said FASEB President, William T. Talman, M.D. Although research using human embryonic stem cells is still in the early stages, the potential of this work to yield treatments for devastating diseases is enormous. Embryonic stems cells are the gold standard of stem cell research. Their capacity for self-renewal and potential to develop into any of the more than 200 types of cells in the human body makes them invaluable in helping researchers understand both normal cell development and medical conditions that arise when normal processes are disrupted. Research on embryonic stem cells has already provided important insights into a host of diseases and conditions, including diabetes, spinal cord injury, and neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s disease.
“Prohibiting the use of federal funds for human embryonic stem cell research is a major set-back to research that holds promise for future cures. The ruling, if allowed to stand, unnecessarily delays development of new medical treatments and diminishes the hopes of millions of patients suffering from serious illnesses,” said Talman. He went on, “As a physician, I’ve watched helplessly as some of my patients with currently untreatable diseases have lost their ability to live full and fruitful lives and ultimately have lost their lives. I view it as unconscionable to take away that hope for cure.” FASEB is committed to seeing that federal funding for promising human embryonic stem cell research performed with appropriate ethical guidelines is restored.
FASEB is composed of 23 societies with more than 100,000 members, making it the largest coalition of biomedical research associations in the United States. FASEB enhances the ability of scientists and engineers to improve—through their research—the health, well-being, and productivity of all people. Our mission is to advance health and welfare by promoting progress and education in biological and biomedical sciences through service to our member societies and collaborative advocacy.
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