Posts Tagged ‘life science funding’

Majority of Americans believe another government shutdown likely in coming months

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 12-03-2013

Nearly two-thirds (65%) of Americans say it’s likely there will be another government shutdown in the months ahead as Congress continues to debate deficit and budget issues, according to a new national public opinion poll commissioned by Research!America and the American Society of Hematology. This sentiment is shared across party affiliations: Democrats (66%), Republicans (65%) and Independents (65%). There is also consensus across party lines that government dysfunction has consequences. A majority of Americans (57%) say the shutdown in October caused significant harm to many government-funded programs including medical research, defense and education. Democrats (68%) and about half of Republicans (49%) and Independents (51%) agree.

On the topic of sequestration, a plurality (44%) says Congress must tackle tax and entitlement reform to reduce the deficit instead of continuing the 10 years of across-the-board cuts; another 16% say sequestration is not the right way to reduce the deficit. Less than a quarter (23%) believe the across-the-board cuts are a way of ensuring that many government programs share the pain, and 17% say they’re not sure. In general, 62% of Americans say they’re concerned about the long-term effects of sequestration on advances in health care such as the development of new drugs and other treatments.

“Our poll demonstrates uneasiness among many Americans about the ramifications of deep spending cuts to programs that are critical to our health and well-being,” said Mary Woolley, president and CEO of Research!America. “Americans want Congress to reach a budget deal that protects medical and health research, at least in part because of concern that our nation is at risk of losing our global leadership position in science and innovation.”

The poll shows nearly three-quarters (73%) of Americans doubt the U.S. will be the number one world leader in science and technology in 2020, a significant increase from the percentage that doubted U.S. leadership last year (59%). In addition, one-third of respondents believe China will surpass the U.S. in six years. Another 30% are not sure which country will lead in science in 2020. Many believe the federal government must increase investments in medical and health research now to ensure that the U.S. can compete globally (61%), and a vast majority (84%) think it’s important for the U.S. to lead in medical, health and scientific research.

The current level of federal spending for research to combat disease leaves many Americans on edge. Upon hearing the U.S. spends about 5 cents of each health dollar on research and development to prevent, cure and treat disease and disability, nearly half (49%) say it’s not enough. Where the additional funds would come from is another question. A plurality (43%) of Americans states its willingness to pay $1 per week more in taxes if the respondents were certain that all of the money would be spent on additional medical research, with 34% not willing and another 23% uncertain about additional taxes for research.

“By cutting federal funding for research supported by the National Institutes of Health and other agencies, we are literally putting lifesaving research on hold,” said Janis Abkowitz, MD, president of the American Society of Hematology, the world’s largest association of blood specialists. “As someone who has seen firsthand how scientific breakthroughs have led to better treatments for patients with blood diseases, it is encouraging to see that voters view medical research funding as a key issue when deciding who will get their vote.”

Looking ahead to the midterm elections, about two-thirds of respondents (66%) say it’s important for candidates running for office to assign a high priority to funding medical research. More than half (53%) do not believe elected officials in Washington are paying enough attention to combating the many deadly diseases that afflict Americans.

Among other findings:

  • 70% say basic scientific research that advances the frontiers of knowledge is necessary and should be supported by the federal government, even if it brings no immediate benefits.
  • Upon hearing the federal government spends approximately $100 per American per year on medical research on all diseases and disabilities, about half (46%) say that’s not enough.
  • 79% say it’s important that our nation supports research that focuses on improving how our health care system is functioning.
  • 75% of Americans say it’s important to invest in research for job creation and economic recovery.
  • 54% say the cost of health care is the single most important health issue facing the nation.
  • 51% say research to improve health is part of the solution to rising health care costs.
  • 75% say it’s important to conduct medical or health research to understand and eliminate health disparities.

The nationwide survey was conducted by Zogby Analytics for Research!America and the American Society of Hematology. The margin of error is +/-3.2 percentage points. To view the poll, visit: http://www.researchamerica.org/uploads/Nov13nationalpollwithASH.pdf

Thank you to Research!America for this story.

Sequestration Will Result in $9.5 Billion Cut to Science Funding

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 04-08-2013

Watch What Do Federal Spending Cuts Mean for Science, Researchers? on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.

12,000 Labs at Risk of Closing Due to Sequestration

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 03-26-2013

Sequestration. A word that has driven fear into the hearts and wallets of many Americans following the recent national election. In the United States federal budget, the sequester or sequestration refers to budget cuts to particular categories of federal spending that began on March 1, 2013 as an austerity fiscal policy (see Wikipedia for a more detailed explanation).The sequester is expected to cut approximately $85.4 Billion dollars during the 2013 fiscal year. Major programs such as Medicare and Social Security will be greatly affected, but how will the cuts affect the life science industry and academia? Will every day researchers feel the effects of the huge reduction in the national budget? According to those in the “know,” sequestration is a word to fear among life scientists.

Burrill & Company, recently reported that the NIH is expected to lose $1.6 Billion in funding and have the number of grants it issues reduced by 2,000. Considering that the NIH awards 50,000 grants a year or 300,000 researchers, this 4% cut to their funding budget may mean that 12,000 labs will have to search for a new source of funds or risk losing their projects.

The Coalition for the Life Sciences has accentuated the effects of the cuts even more by pointing out that In eight states, cuts will exceed $100 million. According to the coalition:

Labs will shut down, scientists will be laid off, and local businesses that support research centers will close

A very scary thought indeed!

Several weeks ago, U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski and NIH director, Francis Collins, discussed the potential impact of the sequester in a video that can be seen on the NIH website. Collins told the audience that sequestration will have far reaching negative effects on the great work that the NIH does in every state around the US. Francis pointed out that the effects will not only be felt by the scientific community, but by pateints and families who look forward to ground breaking research in the hope that it will ultimately find a cure for their particular disease.

Not everyone however, will be disappointed by the effects of sequestration. The popular blog, Retraction Watch , whose business it is to report on bad science, expects that drastic reductions in research budgets will lead to corner cutting by scientists who have less money to work with and an upswing in retractions being reported among the scientific community.

So what can you do about it? How can you help save your lab from being affected by sequestration? Now that the elections are over and sequestraion is in full swing, lobbying our politicians and letter writing campaigns may be your best hope. The Coallition for the Life Sciences recomends sending a letter to Congress and has provided a sample template for you to use.

What are your thoughts on sequestration? What have you heard from your colleagues and PIs about the looming impact of sequestartion? Please share. We’d love to hear the word “on the street.”

$90 Million Investment for Translational Research

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 03-16-2012

Merck, known outside the United States and Canada as MSD, today announced a collaboration to create the California Institute for Biomedical Research (Calibr), an independent, not-for-profit organization (501c3) established to accelerate the translation of basic biomedical research into innovative, new medicines to treat disease.

Calibr will be led by Peter G. Schultz, Ph.D., a world-renowned chemist and biotechnology entrepreneur. The Institute will offer academic scientists, around the world, a streamlined, efficient and flexible path for translating their biomedical research into novel medicines.

Read More….

Great talk expalining today’s hot news of new uses for old drugs

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 08-18-2011

For the first time ever, scientists are using computers and genomic information to predict new uses for existing medicines.

A National Institutes of Health-funded computational study analyzed genomic and drug data to predict new uses for medicines that are already on the market. A team led by Atul J. Butte, M.D., Ph.D., of Stanford University, Palo Alto, Calif., reports its results in two articles in the Aug. 17 online issue of Science Translational Medicine.

Butte’s group focused on 100 diseases and 164 drugs. They created a computer program to search through the thousands of possible drug-disease combinations to find drugs and diseases whose gene expression patterns essentially cancelled each other out. For example, if a disease increased the activity of certain genes, the program tried to match it with one or more drugs that decreased the activity of those genes.

Below is a talk that Dr. Buttes gave recently at Packard Children’s Hospital where he explained some of the amazing work done in his lab.

Click here to read more.