By Israel Rocha, CEO, Doctors Hospital at Renaissance
September 15 marks the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month, a time to pay tribute to the generations of Hispanics who have enriched America’s history. It’s also an important time to consider how this community can be further empowered to make important contributions, particularly in the future of health care.
Research demonstrates that certain diseases disproportionately impact the Hispanic community, including diabetes, liver cancer, cervical cancer and HIV/AIDS. Clinical trials help researchers find better ways to diagnose, prevent and treat these diseases and others. However, Hispanics are significantly underrepresented in clinical trials. Despite representing 16 percent of the U.S. population, Hispanics comprise only 1 percent of clinical trial participants.
Given this historic underrepresentation, there is tremendous opportunity to boost clinical trial participation within diverse patient populations. According to a July 2013 study by Research!America:
- More than 40 percent of Hispanics greatly admire clinical trial participants.
- More than 2/3 of Hispanics would be willing to share health information to help researchers find better ways to prevent and treat disease.
- Nearly half of the Hispanics polled rate a physician’s recommendation to participate in a clinical trial as very important.
The University of Colorado’s Gates Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Biology just announced a potentially game-changing discovery in stem cell research for blood cancers and a whole host of other diseases.
Yosef Refaeli and his research team have found a way to expand blood stem cells. This is big news because blood stem cells can help treat blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma as well as inborn immunodeficiency diseases such as sickle-cell anemia and autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis. But up until now, treatment using blood stem cells has been limited by the number of cells a patient can produce. Hundreds of thousands of Americans could be affected by this discovery.
The research was supported in part by funding from the National Institutes of Health.
The goal now is to move the technology from the lab into clinical trials. Colorado-based biotech company Taiga Biotechnologies is in the process of setting up the trials.
The research was originally published in the academic journal PLOS ONE. Read the paper here.
Statement by Research!America President and CEO Mary Woolley on the Accelerate Biomedical Research Act
Research!America applauds Senator Tom Harkin for taking bold, decisive action to heal fissures in our nation’s research pipeline with legislation that will strengthen the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget over the next six years. The Accelerate Biomedical Research Act will establish a pathway for sustained growth in the NIH budget. That budget has remained virtually stagnant over the last decade, jeopardizing promising research to combat disease and deflating the aspirations of early career scientists. NIH-funded research fuels the development of lifesaving therapies and treatments, and creates opportunities for public-private partnerships to better understand Alzheimer’s, cancer, heart disease and other major health threats here and abroad.
Senator Harkin and other congressional leaders recognize the potential of innovative research, but it is Senator Harkin who is taking the lead at a time when too many elected officials appear to have taken their eyes off the ball with our global leadership in science and technology at risk. China and other countries are aggressively increasing their research and development investments, luring scientists to their shores and challenging our dominance in medical research and innovation. According to polling commissioned by Research!America, a majority of Americans are skeptical that the U.S. will maintain its pre-eminence in science by the year 2020, and many policy experts agree. We urge Congress to support the Accelerate Biomedical Research Act to improve the health of Americans and ensure our global competitiveness.
By Mark A. Reynolds, DDS, PhD, MA, dean of the University of Maryland School of Dentistry
The University of Maryland School of Dentistry (UMSOD) is the world’s first dental school, founded in 1840 in Baltimore, Maryland. The school has a distinguished history of graduating exceptional dentists and dental hygienists who advance the oral and overall health of patients in Maryland and around the world.
Researchers at the School of Dentistry are dedicated to discovering and developing new treatments for diseases. Our scientists are leaders in the fields of oncology, pain and neuroscience, and microbial pathogenesis. UMSOD recognizes that training dental scientists is essential to improve the health of future generations. By offering unique mentorship opportunities and dual-degree programs, such as the combined DDS/PhD, the School of Dentistry provides an environment that encourages students to pursue research endeavors. Continue reading →
By Peter W. Kalivas, PhD, President of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. Dr. Kalivas is Professor and Chair, Department of Neurosciences at the Medical University of South Carolina.
The American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP), founded in 1961, is the nation’s premier professional society in brain, behavior, and neuropharmacology research. The field of neuropsychopharmacology involves evaluating the effects of natural and synthetic compounds upon the brain, mind, and human behavior, and the ACNP serves as a forum for advancing the latest discoveries about the brain towards cures for neuropsychiatric diseases.
The core purpose of the ACNP is to catalyze and advance scientific discovery about disorders of the brain and behavior in order to help prevent, treat and cure brain diseases. The ACNP members are nominated from the national leadership in the fields of Biological Psychiatry and Neuroscience, and the College and its Annual Meeting are kept small by design (just over 1,000 members) in order to facilitate scientific exchange and career mentoring at the Meeting. Importantly, the ACNP is a venue at which the best scientists from academia, government, and industry gather to share, discuss, and debate their research. The College also plays a key role in mentoring early career clinicians and scientists in the field of neuropsychopharmacology via education, travel grants and providing individual mentors. Continue reading →
By Ellen L. Woods, President of the American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education
The American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education (AFPE) is a national nonprofit organization located in Arlington, VA. AFPE was founded in 1942 and is the oldest pharmacy foundation in the nation. Now for more than 70 years, AFPE has provided fellowships, scholarships and grants to help educate thousands of the very best and brightest students in the pharmaceutical sciences in preparation for distinguished careers.
AFPE fellows engage in important, cutting-edge drug research that affects health outcomes in areas across the spectrum, from diabetes, heart disease, cancer, obesity, Alzheimer’s and other life-threatening conditions to medication adherence, arthritis, pregnancy, aging and smoking cessation. This sort of research lays the foundation for the health of generations to come.
The nation’s promising pharmaceutical scientists and their academic institutions have been significantly impacted by the diminished funding from federal agencies. AFPE and other nonprofit organizations attempt to fill that void. Students enrolled in pre-doctoral, PharmD and undergraduate programs in pharmacy look to AFPE to support their research endeavors. When not burdened by continuously seeking funding, researchers can more effectively spend time on research and innovation to improve public health. The investments AFPE makes in U.S. schools of pharmacy ultimately have a positive impact on patient health and fuel the economy.
AFPE is grateful for the unified voice and the partnership that Research!America provides to ensure that investment in research continues to keep pace with the need.