WASHINGTON, Sept. 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- ACT for NIH: Advancing Cures Today announced a national, non-partisan effort to seek an immediate, significant funding increase for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to enhance life-saving medical research for patients around the world.
ACT for NIH brings together patients, scientists, advocates, and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to restore NIH's budget and renew America's commitment to medical innovation and cutting-edge scientific research.
NIH is the nation's medical research agency and largest funder of basic biomedical research in the world. But, adjusted for inflation, NIH receives nearly 25 percent less funding than it did in 2003. In the best of times, 1-in-3 NIH research proposals is funded. Today, that rate has fallen to its lowest level in history – about 1-in-6. In some research areas, it is as low as 1-in-10. Thousands of promising research ideas that are proposed every year are never funded.
"Medical research in the United States is in crisis," said Pat White, President of ACT for NIH and former Associate Director for Legislative Policy and Analysis at NIH. "Basic scientific discovery funded by NIH leads to new treatments for patients facing life-threatening illnesses. We are missing critical opportunities to discover cures and therapies for diseases like cancer, Alzheimer's, heart disease, diabetes, and countless other conditions."
Many issues are at stake:
Advancing Cures: Diseases like cancer, stroke, and mental illness touch each of us. Half of all men and a third of all women in the U.S. will develop cancer in their lifetimes. Without NIH funding, critical research to cure diseases and save lives will stall or end.
Economic Impact: NIH directly supports more than 400,000 jobs across the country, and 83% of its budget goes directly to research institutions and small businesses in every state. Every $1 of NIH funding generates more than double that in local economic growth.
National Security: NIH research defends us against bioterrorism, new and emerging diseases, flu pandemics, and deadly outbreaks of diseases such as Ebola and SARS. National security includes safeguarding our public health.
Global Leadership: The U.S. has long been the global leader in medical research, but other countries are catching up. If current trends continue, China will outspend the U.S. on research and development by the year 2022.
"There is an important role for government in fostering basic science. NIH research since the 1970s has greatly improved survival rates for many life-threatening diseases and given survivors a greatly improved quality of life," said medical research philanthropist, NIH funding advocate, and ACT for NIH Advisory Committee member Michael Milken. "Bioscience in particular provides sustained long-term benefits through job creation, increased productivity, lower health care costs, longer working lives, and process efficiencies."
Along with White, ACT for NIH is led by an Advisory Committee made up of award-winning researchers, academic leaders, philanthropists, and passionate advocates for medical research. They include:
David Baltimore, Ph.D., President Emeritus, California Institute of Technology
Ronald DePinho, M.D., President, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Jennifer Doudna, Ph.D., Professor, University of California, Berkeley
Bernadette Gray-Little, Ph.D., Chancellor, University of Kansas
Michael Milken, Medical Research Innovator and Public Health Advocate
Ronald Petersen, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Mayo Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, Professor of Neurology, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
"America cannot simply assume its lead in science will continue. In recent years the science community has been starved of the resources it needs. Young, new, energetic scientists are the seed corn of nearly all new scientific development," added Nobel Laureate David Baltimore. "Protecting that future starts with understating that much of the wealth in this country comes from scientific research and technological innovation. Translating science into commerce has opened up vast new fields of endeavor and has raised the standard of American living."
ACT for NIH is made possible through the vision and philanthropic support of Jed Manocherian, Founder and Chairman, who is a member of the MD Anderson Cancer Center's Board of Visitors and is passionately committed to advancing the pace of progress and discovery in medical research. Greg Manocherian is Vice Chairman and a philanthropist with many charitable foundations. Jed and Greg Manocherian are real estate investors and developers.
Pat White, President of ACT for NIH, leads this effort after serving as Associate Director for Legislative Policy and Analysis at NIH. In July, NIH Director Francis Collins announced White's departure from NIH by saying, "Pat has the opportunity to lead a new and profoundly important advocacy effort on behalf of the NIH. Pat and his team…will push for an immediate reversal in the last decade's decline in NIH's resources, making instead a compelling case for long-term, stable growth."
About ACT for NIH: Advancing Cures Today
ACT for NIH: Advancing Cures Today is a non-partisan effort committed to advancing biomedical research in the United States. We advocate an immediate, significant funding increase for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), followed by steady, predictable budget growth in the future. For more information, visit www.ACTforNIH.org.