Spotlight

 

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...

 

When presenting to the Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus (CBRC), you want to best represent the work...

Legislative Alerts

The Coalition for the Life Sciences Applauds $2 Billion Increase for the NIH

The Coalition for the Life Sciences (CLS) would like to thank the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) Appropriations Subcommittee for its commitment to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The Committee recently proposed an increase of $2 billion for the NIH in its FY2016 Labor-HHS spending bill. This is an important first step necessary to make up for the loss of purchasing power brought about by more than a decade of flat funding or repeated cuts to the overall NIH budget.

The CLS is particularly grateful to Subcommittee Chair Roy Blunt (R-MO) for his leadership in advancing biomedical research. As he wrote in his June 24 op-ed in The Hill, “Now is the time to prioritize biomedical research to increase critical life-saving medical treatments and high-quality cures available to all Americans.” The CLS is encouraged by his recognition that biomedical research is a wise investment and that the money spent on research now will significantly reduce the cost of healthcare in the future.

This proposed increase is the largest the NIH has received since 2003. We are living in a time of unprecedented scientific innovation, and the promise for Americans suffering from serious diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and cancer has never been greater. However, researchers cannot continue their work and cures will not be possible without sustained federal funding for biomedical research.

We look forward to working with you to further advance the nation’s biomedical research enterprise.

President Obama Unveils His FY 2016 Budget

The Coalition for the Life Sciences (CLS) applauds President Obama's 2016 budget proposal that supports the critical research taking place at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Science Foundation (NSF), and supports his calls to replace sequestration.

After years of flat funding for the NIH and minimal increases for NSF, this budget reflects an encouraging first step toward restoring the resources necessary to grow the scientific enterprise. At a time of unprecedented scientific opportunity, it is critical that the United States make forward-thinking investments that promote medical breakthroughs as well as our international leadership in biomedical research.

Over the past decade, our nation's investment in NIH has often fallen short of what is needed to meet our research needs. Since 2003, Congressional appropriations for our nation's greatest research institution have stagnated and failed to keep pace with inflation. The CLS strongly supports a steady, sustained investment in federally funded biomedical research and will be working with Congress to ensure continued support for the NIH and NSF.

Here are the highlights of President Obama's budget request for FY16:

NIH
The President seeks to boost the NIH and recommended a funding level of $31.3 billion. According to the White House budget reports and agency highlights, some of the priorities included in the $31.3 billion are as follows:

  • $135 million for NIH's contribution to the BRAIN Initiative.
  • $450 million for the NIH's support on combating antibiotic resistance (part of a $1.2 billion government-wide plan).
  • $200 million for the NIH to spend on precision medicine in FY16.
  • An additional $51million for Alzheimer's Disease research in FY16, for an estimated total of $638 million.
  • $660.1 million for the National Center for Advancing Translation Sciences.

According to budget materials, NIH estimates the proposal will allow for approximately 10,300 new and competing renewal research project grants, an increase of more than 1,200 over the current year.

NSF
The President requests $7.7 billion for NSF, a $379 million increase over the FY15 level. For research and related activities, the president's budget requests $6.2 billion, a $253 million increase over FY15.

Precision Medicine Initiative

Today President Barak Obama unveiled his proposed Precision Medicine Initiative that seeks to revolutionize how we improve health and treat disease.

In an article in today’s Politico, Jo Handelsman, assistant director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, stated: “It’s about moving beyond ‘one size fits all’ medicine by taking into account individual differences in peoples’ genes, microbiomes, environments and lifestyles.”

On Monday, the President will submit his budget to Congress. In it he will recommend $215 million to invest in this initiative.

The funds will be distributed as follows:

  • The National Institutes of Health would receive $130 million for the development of a voluntary national research cohort of a million or more volunteers.
  • The National Cancer Institute would receive $70 million to quicken efforts to identify genomic drivers in cancer and apply that knowledge in the development of more effective approaches to cancer treatments.
  • The Food and Drug Administration would receive $10 million to develop databases.
  • The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology would receive $5 million to establish that the data are exchanged in a private, secure way.

In today’s announcement the President highlighted several goals of the Initiative, including:

  • More and better treatments for cancer
  • Creation of a voluntary national research cohort
  • Commitment to protecting privacy
  • Regulatory modernization
  • Public-private partnerships

The Initiative was welcomed and exciting news for the 200 attendees—the audience largely made up of top scientists from across the country, patients who have benefited from personalized medicine, and advocates from across the country. It also represents a rare site in Washington, that of bi-partisanship. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) attended the White House announcement and promised to work closely with Obama and Democrats “so that cutting-edge medicine begins reaching patients more quickly, while still preserving this nation’s gold standard for safety and quality...”

The CLS was proud to be a part of this event and we look forward to working with the White House and Congress to advance and build on our investment in Precision Medicine.