Jan 01, 2017 1:00 PM

Author: Helena Lucente

helena lucente

From time to time, HCI invites guest commentary from our community. The views reflected in these commentaries are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official views of HCI.

On December 13, 2016, President Barack Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act into law. The 21st Century Cures Act includes $4.8 billion to fund the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and $500 million for the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in order to support research and drug development. Funding the NIH and FDA is expected to revitalize the biomedical research enterprise by providing more support for industry, government, and academic research. The law provided funds for a number of initiatives, including the “Cancer Moonshot” effort, which seeks to accelerate cancer research in the United States.

As a cancer researcher, it is exciting to see the government invest in biomedical research. I am hopeful this law will inspire more people to pursue careers in science, which can be a challenging career path. For example, over the past decade, NIH funding has not increased enough to account for inflation; consequently, fewer applicants have received funding for their research. I have felt the anxieties of senior researchers vying for limited funding in a hypercompetitive environment. And as I approach graduation, I recognize I will soon be subject to this tough competition. This bill is one step on the path to reaffirming the role of the United States as a world leader in medical research.

Currently, the law has provisions for ten years but this funding is not a guarantee. It is important to continue to support biomedical research critical to developing safe and effective disease treatments. I am excited to be a part of the progress and innovation that is sure to result from the coming years of cancer research.

Helena Lucente

Huntsman Cancer Institute

cancer moonshot science policy cancer research

Cancer touches all of us.

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