155 Days To Mt. Kilimanjaro – National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences

The US was once seen as the land of opportunity for students from foreign countries to study and excel in fields of medical technology, bioengineering and the life sciences. Today there is a trend which shows the amazing brains who once melded into these fields of technological research after graduating in the US, are now returning to their own countries to put their US educations to work.

Today countries like China and India are becoming world leaders in technology utilizing the great minds we have educated here. If the opportunities are not available to put these brilliant minds to use here, I can hardly blame them. We recognize and reward those making medical discoveries, but we do not fund the discovery further to become a treatment, much less a cure!

So you ask, “what is the answer” to this problem? It is a two prong answer – firstly, we find a way to fund great researchers here in the US – we move away from a bureaucratic system tied in red tape to allow discoveries to be funded from the laboratory to patient trials! Second, we as a nation start placing an emphasis on the sciences early in our education system. Consider this, the No Child Left Behind program does not even include Science – it focuses on improving reading and math skills, to put it simply. It is a start, but one that will not reverse the trend to grow great minds in our own country who will eventually become great scientist and researchers.

In a twelve year study by Reuters released in 2009 measuring scientific output, the US continued to be in a state of decline when measuring the share of scientific research that is being released and employed. While I could find no updated results for this research, I would speculate with certainty that this trend has continued and the percentage is well below the 32% reported in this study.

This week in Washington, DC, a challenge was proposed based on the need to create a support system in the US to ensure a robust medical infrastructure be built to advance medical technology in a profound manner in the our country. Let’s hope this innovative approach will not end up buried on the desks of our Washington leaders – rather it will be the start for the US to return to a position of leadership in scientific research. And let’s really hope we begin to recognize researchers for finishing their discoveries with remedies and cures – going well beyond the laboratory stage to patient trials. pkp

Council for American Medical Innovation Statement: NIH Drug Research Center Highlights Need for Public-Private Partnerships, R&D to Find Cures, Reduce Costs

WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 25, 2011) – Debra Lappin, president of The Council for American Medical Innovation (CAMI), a partnership of leaders in research, medicine, patient advocacy, academia, education, labor and business dedicated to advancing medical innovation, issued the following statement today on the call by the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to create a new National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences.

“The Council commends Director Collins for this leadership, and we are pleased to see the call for this new center, focused on moving basic research into early phase drug development, gain national and international attention. Through our conversations with stakeholders across the country, and as outlined in our 2010 report, Gone Tomorrow? A Call to Promote Medical Innovation, Create Jobs, and Find Cures in America, public-private partnerships are key to fostering the innovative climate we need to find cures, reduce health care costs, and ensure our nation’s continued global leadership and competitiveness. 

“The current regulatory and capital environment makes it increasingly difficult to embark on a billion dollar, 15-year drug development process, and yet private industry has continued to invest billions into research that leads to potential life changing medicines for Americans. Federal leadership, as we are seeing from NIH, will help move potential new discoveries out of the lab and into early phase trials, and in this process bridge the widening gap between our world renowned federal research enterprise and  therapeutic applications that improve human health. 

“We look forward to working with Dr. Collins and the NIH as the effort to create the Center for Advancing Translational Sciences moves forward and to supporting other bold actions that ensure a continued, robust  medical innovation infrastructure across the United States.” 

For more information on the Council for American Medical Innovation, visit www.americanmedicalinnovation.org.

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