By Karen Elkins, PhD, a biomedical scientist and science writer currently working in the field of microbiology and immunology.
How does the physiology of the human body respond to severe injuries and septic shock? Funded by NIH, over 50 researchers have been working on a decade-long set of large projects to analyze human tissues taken directly from seriously ill patients. The goal of this ambitious effort is to understand the body-wide inflammation that accompanies major injuries like trauma with blood loss, major burns, and septic shock from invasive bacterial infections. Continue reading →
On March 4, NIH-supported investigators reported the first ever “functional cure” of HIV in a toddler in Mississippi. The child received antiretroviral drugs within hours of birth and continued on the drugs for 18 months, when treatment was stopped. Despite discontinued treatment, the toddler no longer had detectable levels of HIV when seen by medical professionals 6 months later. Subsequent tests confirmed that the child had indeed been “functionally cured” of HIV. Although more research is necessary to see if these results can be duplicated, scientists believe this provides hope for the hundreds of thousands of children born with HIV each year. NIH funding not only supported investigators involved in monitoring the child, but also played an instrumental historical role in developing the antiretroviral drugs that were used to cure the child. We are one step closer to a world free from HIV.
In light of this breakthrough, it is disturbing and sadly ironic that Congress and the White House on Friday permitted federal funding for biomedical research to be cut — after years of sustained or increased funding – as part of sequestration. How much progress will be squandered if these cuts, and the indifference to American priorities they exemplify, aren’t reversed?
Most Say Federally Funded Basic Research is Important to Private Sector Innovation
Alexandria, Va.—February 26, 2013— More than two-thirds (67%) of small business leaders say basic research funded by the federal government is important to private sector innovation, according to a new nationwide survey of small business owners/operators commissioned by Research!America. In addition, nearly half (45%) say medical research funding to universities and other non-governmental research institutions should not be cut as part of sequestration, and a plurality (40%) say that such across-the-board cuts are not a smart strategy for reducing the deficit.
The survey findings also reveal that small businesses support the federal government’s role in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. Seventy percent of respondents say STEM education is important to the future of their business and the federal government should increase funding for those programs.
“It is striking that small business owners, the backbone of our economy comprising nearly 80% of business leaders nationwide, strongly value federal support for research and recognize the major role it plays in spurring private sector growth,” said Research!America President and CEO Mary Woolley.
A majority of respondents (85%) say it’s very important or somewhat important to reduce the federal debt and deficit and to cut federal corporate and individual tax rates (81%). Among the top strategies for deficit reduction are entitlement reform (25%), eliminating targeted corporate tax breaks (22%) and closing tax loopholes (21%). Seventy-seven percent say the rising cost of health care, a major chunk of our national debt, is important to their businesses, a concern that mirrors other components of the economy as well as individuals. A huge majority, 80%, say it’s important for the government to support research that focuses on making our health care system more efficient.
The concern of small business owners is strikingly evident as it relates to our nation’s world leadership status, with 90% describing research and development as important to our global competitiveness.
“Small business owners understand the critical role of federal government in giving small businesses a launching pad that includes the stimulus of innovation based on federally supported research and development,” added Woolley. “Deep cuts to medical research funding would be detrimental to small businesses, our nation’s economy and global competitiveness if policy makers allow the sequester to take effect.”
The nationwide survey of small business owners/operators was conducted by Zogby Analytics for Research!America. Based on a confidence interval of 95%, the margin of error for the panel of 203 business owners is +/-7.0 percentage points.
To view the poll, visit: www.researchamerica.org/uploads/Feb2013smallbizsurvey.pdf
About Research!America polls
Research!America began commissioning polls in 1992 in an effort to understand public support for medical, health and scientific research. The results of Research!America’s polls have proven invaluable to our alliance of member organizations and, in turn, to the fulfillment of our mission to make research to improve health a higher national priority. In response to growing usage and demand, Research!America has expanded its portfolio, which includes state, national and issue-specific polling. Poll data is available by request or at www.researchamerica.org.
Research!America is the nation’s largest nonprofit public education and advocacy alliance working to make research to improve health a higher national priority. Founded in 1989, Research!America is supported by member organizations representing 125 million Americans. Visit www.researchamerica.org.