The 21st Century Cures Act, passed in July by an overwhelming bipartisan majority of the House of Representatives, might just be the most significant piece of legislation affecting biomedical research. Ever.
That’s an admittedly bold statement. But consider that the House, led by Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and committee member Dianna DeGette (D-CO), accomplished something that has eluded multiple past Congresses – significantly increasing funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The House-passed bill provides for increased annual spending for NIH for three years and further puts the NIH on a sustainable growth path by providing for a mandatory, five-year, $8.75 billion Innovation Fund. Now the Senate needs to do the same.
The 21st century has been heralded as the “Biomedical Century” because of the phenomenal opportunity before us to use genomics and ever-more powerful computational and analytical tools to understand diseases like never before – and most significantly – to develop effective treatments for our most chronic and vexing diseases.