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NAEVR Joins Research Means Hope.org in Calling for Robust NIH Funding at a National Medical Research Day Press Event


Edward Miller, M.D., Dean and CEO of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Chair of Research Means Hope.org, who moderated the press event: "Ensuring robust, predictable, and sustained NIH funding is a need to do, not a nice to do."
October 21 was National Medical Research Day, and NAEVR joined its advocacy colleagues at a press event held by the Research Means Hope.org Campaign in urging the Obama Administration and Congress to ensure robust, predictable, and sustained funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). NAEVR issued a press statement emphasizing how research into preventing blindness and restoring vision that is funded by the National Eye Institute (NEI) within the NIH is bringing hope to patients, enabling them to increase productivity, maintain independence, and improve their quality of life.

The press event featured researchers and patients who spoke about the value of medical research, especially the promise of breakthroughs resulting from the $10.4 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding. Moderator Edward Miller, M.D., Dean and CEO of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Chair of Research Means Hope.org, thanked the Obama Administration and Congress for ARRA funding for NIH, noting numerous downstream benefits—in addition to breakthroughs in research—such as jobs saved and created and new healthcare businesses. He acknowledged that Johns Hopkins is the largest private employer in the state of Maryland and received $150 million in ARRA funding, $110 million of which went to the School of Medicine and has kept labs open, funded 50 new laboratory hires, and sent a strong message to post doctoral students about future research funding. "ARRA renewed the research mission after six relatively flat years of NIH funding. As a result, ensuring robust, predictable, and sustained NIH funding is a need to do, not a nice to do," he said. His comments were echoed by Darrell Kirch, M.D., President and CEO of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) , who commented that "the enhanced NIH funding should not be short-term because, if we go back to business as usual (flat funding), it will have devastating consequences."

Researcher Judith Bond, Ph.D., M.S., from Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, explained that the ARRA funding she has received has supported two graduate students studying the impact of proteins on the immune system, as well as engaged minority students in science education. "ARRA funding has inspired the creative energies of researchers. It has generated new ideas that we need to capitalize on which will change the way we look at treatments and cures."

To emphasize the importance of NIH funding for patients, the event featured diabetes patient Chloe Lamprecht, age 12, and heart transplant recipient Olivia Grace Jones, age 5. Chloe reported that she has had 7,300 shots and tens of thousands of finger pricks and that she does not want other kids her age to through what she does, especially since there is a one-in-three chance of developing diabetes for children born after year 2000. "Iím a busy girl on the go, so I will be ready when a cure is available." Oliviaís parents spoke about her experience with idiopathic cardiomyopathy, a disease that enlarges the heart and impedes its ability to pump properly. Olivia spent 101 days in the hospital awaiting a heart transplant and, on the 296th day, received one. "I donít want any child to have to take medication every 12 hours or have a heart catheterization every 6 months," said Oliviaís mother, adding that "so we have to do better."

In emotional comments, the Honorable Billy Tauzin, President and CEO of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and former Member of Congress, spoke about his battle with duodenal cancer and the various resulting complications. "Battling cancer changed my life. Sometimes what keeps you going is the hope that a researcher is working on something that can help you." He added that the United States biomedical research enterprise is the envy of the world, conducting 70 percent of the global biomedical research.

In conjunction with the press event, Research Means Hope.org sponsored a full-page ad in the Washington Post asking readers to visit its Web site to urge President Obama and Congress to support medical research.


Diabetes patient Chloe Lamprecht: "Iím a busy girl on the go, so I will be ready when a cure is available."
Heart transplant recipient Olivia Grace Jones and her parents
Heart transplant recipient Olivia Grace Jones and her parents: "I donít want any child to have to take medication every 12 hours or have a heart catheterization every 6 months, so we have to do better."
Diabetes researcher Judith Bond, Ph.D., M.S. (Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine)
Diabetes researcher Judith Bond, Ph.D., M.S. (Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine): "ARRA funding has inspired the creative energies of researchers and has generated new ideas that we need to capitalize on."
The Honorable Billy Tauzin (PhRMA) on his battle with cancer: Sometimes what keeps you going is the hope that a researcher is working on something that can help you.
The Honorable Billy Tauzin (PhRMA) on his battle with cancer: "Sometimes what keeps you going is the hope that a researcher is working on something that can help you."
Jennifer Zeitzer (Federation of American Societies of Experimental Biology, FASEB), NAEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky, and David Moore (Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research/AAMC)
Left to right: Jennifer Zeitzer (Federation of American Societies of Experimental Biology, FASEB), NAEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky, and David Moore (Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research/AAMC), all of which issued press statements urging robust NIH funding that are posted on Research Means Hope.org
James Jorkasky (center) with Sue Nelson (left) and Claudia Louis (right) of the American Heart Association
James Jorkasky (center) with Sue Nelson (left) and Claudia Louis (right) of the American Heart Association, which issued a statement on behalf of the millions of heart disease and stroke patients