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Higgins joins DeLauro to introduce bill increasing funding for National Institutes of Health

by jmaloni


Mon, Sep 22nd 2014 04:10 pm

Accelerating Biomedical Research Act designed to increase nation's investment over  next 7 years, advance efforts to improve treatments and find cures

Congressman Brian Higgins joined Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro in introducing H.R. 5580, the Accelerating Biomedical Research Act. This legislation will incrementally increase funding for the National Institutes of Health over the next seven years. The DeLauro-Higgins bill is the House companion of S.2658 introduced by Sen. Harkin, a longstanding champion of NIH funding.

"Increasing our investment in medical research should be a national priority for the jobs it creates and the lives it saves," Higgins said. "Unfortunately, Congress has let its commitment to medical research lag and American researchers are paying the price. This bill will start to return vital funding to the NIH and continue our pursuit to find better treatments and cures for so many debilitating diseases. The only failure in medical research is when you quit or are forced to quit due to lack of funding."

"One of my proudest accomplishments as a member of Congress is helping to double NIH's funding," DeLauro said. "Work supported by the NIH has saved the lives of countless Americans. Failure to invest in health research and disease prevention results in huge costs to our health, society, economy and knowledge itself. Congress must stop forcing the NIH to do more with less."

Dr. Eaton Lattman, Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute HWI CEO and principal investigator for the NSF BioXFEL Science and Technology Center, announced in October, "America's biomedical research infrastructure is being degraded in much the same way as its physical infrastructure of bridges and roadways, through lack of adequate funding. Congressman Higgins' proposal to restore NIH funding to historic levels will regenerate our ability to find cures, and to deal with crises such as the Ebola virus outbreak. It is desperately needed."

"We applaud Congressman Higgins for his leadership on this critical issue," said Dr. Kunle Odunsi, chair of the department of gynecologic oncology and executive director of the Center for Immunotherapy at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. "The cuts to the NIH budget have slowed the pace of research advances. They're forcing clinical scientists to leave good ideas unexplored and to dedicate an unacceptable share of their time to seeking alternate funding. This is impacting patients. You can come up with the most innovative approaches, but when you can't get your projects funded, you can't get them to patients."

"My work focuses on cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in Erie County, in New York state, and in the country," said Dr. John Canty Jr., chair of cardiovascular diseases and chief of cardiovascular medicine in the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. "NIH support ensures that my team is able to conduct groundbreaking research in this area. And it is NIH support of innovative research that is fueling a thriving knowledge economy in Western New York, an important piece of which will be the opening of UB's medical school right here on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus."

CUBRC CEO Tom McMahon said, "We are appreciative of Congressman Higgins support for legislation that would authorize increased funding for the National Institutes of Health. CUBRC has been performing biomedical research for well over a decade, and without the funding provided by the U.S. government for this vital research, our world-class scientists and partners would simply not have the financial resources needed to move this important work forward."

Since 2003, funding for medical research at the National Institutes of Health has not kept pace with inflation. Accounting for inflation, in fiscal year 2013, funding for NIH was 22 percent less than 2003 funding levels. Between fiscal years 2012-13, the NIH issued approximately 700 fewer competitive research project grants, down from 8,896 in 2012 to 8,283 in 2013. There were approximately 750 fewer new patients admitted to the NIH Clinical Center, down from 10,695 in 2012 to 9,945 in 2013.

The Accelerating Biomedical Research Act will allot additional funding to the NIH each year for the next seven years, which will exceed the amount allowed through the cap put in place by the Budget Control Act in 2011. The NIH currently receives $29.9 billion; this act will raise it to more than $46.2 billion by 2021.

NIH grant funding is especially important to the success and growth of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, where jobs are expected to grow to nearly 17,000 by 2017. Local recipients receiving the largest allocations of NIH funding include Roswell Park Cancer Institute, the University at Buffalo, CUBRC and the Hauptman-Woodward Institute.

Research institutions and scientists working in Higgins district have received close to $89 million in NIH funding in fiscal years 2013 and 2014.


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