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October 21, 2014

Posts in "Research"

September 15, 2014

Spreading the Fruits of Federal Medical Research

Federal spending on medical research produces results and the National Institutes of Health periodically seeks to license patents on new discoveries and novel medical research techniques. Today, NIH issued a notice of an exclusive license on cancer targeting compounds and a separate request seeking to license a variety of techniques for HIV research and x-ray imaging, plus a new surgical tool for eye surgery.

Many developing technologies and techniques stem from research funding at NIH or through federal grants. Disseminating the fruits of federally funded research is governed by a law enacted in 1980, which allows for licensing of federal patents to industry. The law (view Congressional Research Service description) gives the title to inventions made with government support to small business, universities or other non-profit organizations and is credited with forging a vibrant biotechnology industry. Federal researchers retain the right to use the new innovations and the licensees are responsible for the often-arduous process of perfecting and developing the new technology.

Earlier this year, (@CQHealthTweet) HealthBeat’s Kerry Young’s monitored the various licensing missives from NIH and reported on the licensing of a technique that uses a rabies virus to develop a vaccine against the Ebola virus.

 

 

By Paul Jenks Posted at 3:51 p.m.
Research

September 12, 2014

House Panel Discusses Genetic Research and Prospects for Personalized Medicine

Sept. 10 House Energy and Commerce Hearing

Amid congressional wrangling this week over spending bills and pre-election posturing, a bipartisan group of House Energy and Commerce Committee lawmakers were busy examining options for improving the process for developing and regulating new medical technologies and treatments. The committee on Tuesday hosted a roundtable discussion (view video) with HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell, top agency chiefs and leaders from several medical research organizations.

National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins reminded lawmakers that the U.S. took the lead in mapping the human genome, which has led to new technologies. However, China now provides largest current investment in genomics research. Separately, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg and researchers on the panel stressed the need for regulatory improvements to foster the development of personalized medicine, which uses genetic analysis to tailor medical treatments specifically to an individual patient.

By Paul Jenks Posted at 3:46 p.m.
Genomics, Research

September 10, 2014

Mapping the Impact of NIH Funding

The largest discretionary spending component of the budget of the Department of Health and Human Services funds the National Institutes of Health, the primary federal medical research agency. The sprawling NIH campus in Bethesda, Md., belies the fact that 85 percent of the agency’s $31 billion annual budget goes to fund medical research off campus in all 50 states.

A medical research advocacy group, United for Medical Research, this week updated its state-by-state map of NIH research funding flowing to each state and supporting an estimated 400,000 jobs. California and Massachusetts lead in receipt of NIH research grants and the larger states dwarf the totals for Idaho, Wyoming and Alaska. NIH has established an award program that seeks to ship research dollars to 23 states with a poor track record of competing for NIH grant money. However, parsing out medical research outside of the NIH also amplifies the nationwide impact of any reductions in the NIH budget.

 

 

 

 

August 5, 2014

Ebola Drug Reportedly Shows Promise

Concern about the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has prompted a heightened response from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The federal health agency imposed tight security and safety precautions as the first Americans infected with the virus arrived in the United States from Liberia, where they had been working. Dr. Kent Brantly arrived on Saturday in Atlanta for treatment at Emory University Hospital, and  Nancy Writebol  is due to arrive on Tuesday. CNN reports that both  received doses of an experimental drug.  The report could lead to calls for wider use of the product, which has not been approved for use, based on anecdotal reports about promising results in the two patients.

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July 28, 2014

Retiring Appropriator Seeks to Steady Medical Research Funding

harkin 253 072414 445x296 Retiring Appropriator Seeks to Steady Medical Research Funding

Harkin. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Tom Harkin, the chairman of the Senate Labor-HHS-Education spending subcommittee and the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, is retiring at the end of the year. Ahead of his departure, the Iowa Democrat has introduced a bill that seeks to steady medical research funding for the National Institutes of Health.

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July 25, 2014

Census Bureau Updates HIV-AIDS Research Library

The U.S. Census Bureau this week announced the annual update of its database of scientific journals and reports on HIV-AIDS research. The agency touts the library as the “most comprehensive resource of its kind in the world.”

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For Alzheimer’s, Drugs Come More Slowly, but Tests on Horizon

The Economist magazine this week points out that efforts have slowed recently in developing drug treatment options for Alzheimer’s disease. However, the article highlights progress in developing tests to identify early indicators of Alzheimer’s.

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July 21, 2014

Measuring Federal Research Performance

Medical research accounts for a large portion of federal research activities and spending. A recent Senate hearing examined broad issues relating to all federal research programs.

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July 17, 2014

FDA Lab With Smallpox Vials Had Other Dangerous Biological Agents

The Food and Drug Administration lab on the NIH campus where six vials of smallpox were discovered also had biological agents causing such diseases including dengue, influenza, Q fever, and rickettsia, government officials have disclosed.

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July 15, 2014

Innovation: Fred Upton’s Committee Pushes for Ideas; Report Looks to 2025

The House Energy and Commerce Committee, led by Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., over the past few months has been busy examining a range of topics to assist in the development of new legislation to overhaul federal health programs to foster the development of new technologies and medical breakthroughs. The committee is in the process of examining the development and approval process for new drugs and devices. The effort continues later this week with a hearing on leveraging communications technologies.

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July 14, 2014

Today’s Spotlight: House Health Bill Markup

The House Energy and Commerce Committee today begins a markup session on a batch of bills that would renew targeted health programs.

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July 11, 2014

‘Whoops!’ on the Smallpox Find

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a notice this week on the discovery of vials of the smallpox virus in a Food and Drug Administration laboratory storeroom at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. The surprising find prompted this weekend’s  Economist magazine, in an article titled “Whoops!,” to review the debate over keeping samples of the easily transmitted virus, which the  World Health Organization declared eradicated in 1980.

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July 9, 2014

Autism Measure Waits for Final Senate Nod

While Congress is facing seemingly intractable differences on health care agency spending bills and wrestles with veterans’ health bill offsets, an autism research and education program reauthorization bill is ready for final action in the Senate.

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July 7, 2014

$83.4 Million in New Grants for Teaching Health Centers

The Department of Health and Human Services has awarded a batch of new grants and has announced enhanced medical-research funding.

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