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For the past year, members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee have asked patients, doctors, researchers and regulators:

  1. What needs to be done to develop new treatments and cures?
  2. How can we get these new therapies to patients faster?

In a bipartisan fashion, the committee sought to create legislation that would spur scientific discovery and eliminate any regulatory road blocks that stand in the way of patients getting access to new treatments. Today, exactly one year since the initiative launched, the committee issued a discussion draft and will hold a hearing, which includes testimony from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Colon Cancer Alliance strongly supports the direction being taken in the 21st Century Cures initiative.

Since our nation made a major investment in biomedical research in the 1990’s, funding for NIH has not even kept up with inflation. The goal of the 21st Century Cures initiative would fix that by providing $10 billion over five years in mandatory funding. Additionally, it would incorporate the patient perspective in research as well as in the development and delivery process of new treatments.

Clinical trials are essential to the development of new treatments, but today they are often hamstrung by outdated regulatory processes and the unintended consequences of privacy regulations. The 21st Century Cures initiative would go a long way to modernizing and streamlining the process while still protecting patient confidentiality.

Unfortunately, while 21st Century Cures seeks to develop cures faster, its development seems to move at glacial speed. After a year, eight hearings have happened and today makes nine with the end outcome of it still being a “discussion draft.” So, with one hand we applaud Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Rep Diana DeGette (D-CO) for leading this vital initiative; with the other hand we strongly usher them to get a bill drafted and on to the floor as soon as possible. Our community strongly supports the 21st Century Cures initiative; let’s not wait until the 22nd to pass it.

Don’t forget, the Colon Cancer Alliance serves as a source of information about colon health. If you have additional questions about colon cancer screening or are in need of support, please contact our free Helpline at (877) 422-2030. We’re here to help.


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