The Academy of Radiology Research thanks the House of Representatives for passing H.R. 6, the 21st Century Cures Act, and urges the Senate to do the same.
The Academy’s membership includes patient advocacy groups, imaging societies, academic Radiology Departments, and manufacturers. This diverse set of stakeholders shares a common commitment to the 21st Century Cures Act’s goals of accelerating the discovery, development, and delivery of medical innovations that improve patient care.
“Thank you to Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO), Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), and their 230 cosponsors for their work on this historic bill,” remarked Renee L. Cruea, MPA, the Executive Director of the Academy. “This has truly been a bipartisan and collaborative effort, and the imaging research community is proud to have been a part of it. Imaging science is a cross-cutting discipline that has long been committed to the research and development of new and improved technologies, and H.R. 6 will help ensure that this work continues.”
H.R. 6’s Innovation Fund will provide $8.75 billion in funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) over five years. The Academy is thankful that the House defeated the Brat amendment that would make this funding discretionary rather than mandatory. The Innovation Fund is fully paid for and temporary. It also reverses 12 years of flat funding for the NIH which, when adjusted for inflation, is actually 25% lower than the NIH’s budget in 2003.
More than 89% of the diseases studied at the NIH use imaging for their diagnosis and treatment, and the Innovation Fund will enable imaging researchers to continue to develop the tools and techniques necessary to solve some of our country’s most pressing health problems. For example, the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) at the NIH found a 20% reduction in lung cancer deaths among current or former heavy smokers who received a Cat Scan rather than an X-ray. In addition, researchers funded by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) at the NIH discovered that magnetic resonance imaging-guided focused ultrasound can reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Future innovations such as these ones will not be possible without the funds provided through H.R. 6.
H.R. 6 is also an investment in our country’s economy. NIH-supported imaging research serves as the innovation foundation for one of America’s strongest export industries: medical devices and therapeutics. In fact, a report released in March showed that biotechnology development and imaging science supported by the NIBIB is the federal government’s most innovative R&D program. Funding from this Institute acts as an economic driver by producing innovations and patents, which in turn leads to more inventions, greater start-up activity, and lower unemployment.
“This legislation’s focus on NIH-sponsored innovation is truly forward-thinking. The imaging research community has been a pioneer in this area, and we are grateful to the House of Representatives for their support,” said Jonathan S. Lewin, MD, the President of the Academy. “But to fully ensure the future of America’s leadership in science and technology, the Senate must now act as well.”