ASH Unveils New Agenda for Hematology Research
ASH is urging federal agencies to coordinate hematology funding in order to produce the greatest impact on specific high-need areas. The newly released ASH Agenda for Hematology Research: 2012-2014 is a third update of a strategic plan the Society releases every three years. The latest update describes the many contributions of hematologists both to their own field and to other fields of medicine and articulates the necessity of placing hematology among the top priorities for funding within the healthcare community, both today and in the future.
The ASH Agenda for Hematology Research: 2012-2014 was developed by the ASH Committee on Scientific Affairs with extensive input from all members of the Society’s 17 scientific committees and the Executive Committee. The Agenda consists of two parts. The first section uses stories of success in treating hematologic diseases to illustrate, in human terms, the return on investment of past research support. The second part outlines the foremost challenges confronting the field and identifies the highest priority scientific themes. This section focuses on areas of investigation considered to be the most promising and exciting in the field, including stem cell biology and regenerative medicine, myelodysplastic syndrome and acute myeloid leukemia in the elderly, hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and management of graft-versus-host disease, sickle cell disease, deep-vein thrombosis and venous thromboembolism, and childhood leukemia.
The ASH Agenda for Hematology Research: 2012-2014 is a valuable tool for use in promoting hematology research to the scientific community, funding agencies, political and legislative bodies, philanthropic organizations, patients and their advocacy groups, and the American public. The Agenda is available for download on the ASH website; go to www.hematology.org/researchagenda.
Congress Faces Tight Budgetary Squeeze for FY 2013; Advocacy by Hematologists Needed to Protect Funding for NIH
Congressional leaders are in the midst of planning for the annual spending bills, including federal funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The process formally began with the Administration’s budget proposal, which, as this issue of The Hematologist went to press, was expected to be released on February 13.The fiscal year (FY) spending measures, covering the 12-month period starting October 1, 2012, are restricted by last year’s budget control agreement, which capped spending at $1.047 trillion. Barring a change in the formula, major new spending initiatives are unlikely. Funding increases for most federal programs, including NIH, are also unlikely. Further complicating the appropriations process is the fact that FY 2013 spending bills are subject to $97 billion in across-the-board spending cuts, through a process known as sequestration, mandated by the failure to reach agreement on a deficit-reduction proposal last year by the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (commonly referred to as the “Super Committee”).
While programs such as NIH will face sequestration cuts, Medicaid is exempted from sequestration, and Medicare cuts are limited to a 2 percent reduction in provider payments (which would be in addition to any potential physician payment cut for 2013). According to an analysis by the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Norman Dicks (D-WA), the sequestration plan will likely include at least a 7.8 percent cut for agencies, including NIH. Such a cut at NIH would mean the agency would be able to fund about 2,500 to 2,700 fewer research grants per year.
Grassroots support is critical in order to have a voice in the congressional budget process sufficiently strong to ensure that NIH does not experience significant cuts in funding. Please look for ASH Legislative Alerts and visit the ASH website for updates on the FY 2013 budget process and for information about how you can contact your senators and representative to protect NIH funding in FY 2013.
NIH Formally Establishes National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences
In a move to re-engineer the process of translating scientific discoveries into new drugs, diagnostics, and devices, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced the formal establishment of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS). The formation of NCATS has been in progress since a December 2010 recommendation of the NIH Scientific Management Review Board to create a new center dedicated to advancing translational science by overcoming hurdles that slow the development of treatments and cures. The formal creation of the Center was made possible by Congress’ approval of the fiscal year 2012 spending bill, which included the establishment of NCATS with a budget of $575 million.In a move to re-engineer the process of translating scientific discoveries into new drugs, diagnostics, and devices, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced the formal establishment of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS). The formation of NCATS has been in progress since a December 2010 recommendation of the NIH Scientific Management Review Board to create a new center dedicated to advancing translational science by overcoming hurdles that slow the development of treatments and cures. The formal creation of the Center was made possible by Congress’ approval of the fiscal year 2012 spending bill, which included the establishment of NCATS with a budget of $575 million.
To meet the goals of NCATS, NIH is reorganizing a wide range of preclinical and clinical translational science entities within NIH. The following programs will comprise NCATS:
- Bridging Interventional Development Gaps, which makes available critical resources needed for the development of new therapeutic agents
- Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSAs), which fund a national consortium of medical research institutions working together to improve the way clinical and translational research is conducted nationwide
- Cures Acceleration Network, which enables NCATS to fund research in new and innovative ways
- FDA-NIH Regulatory Science, which is an interagency partnership that aims to accelerate the development and use of better tools, standards, and approaches for developing and evaluating diagnostic and therapeutic products
- Office of Rare Diseases Research, which coordinates and supports rare diseases research
- Components of the Molecular Libraries, which is an initiative that provides researchers with access to the large-scale screening capacity necessary to identify compounds that can be used as chemical probes to validate new therapeutic targets
- Therapeutics for Rare and Neglected Diseases, which aims to encourage and speed the development of new drugs for rare and neglected diseases
Various other programs and grants once housed at the now-defunct National Center for Research Resources have been moved both to NCATS and to various other institutes and centers.
While the effort to recruit an NCATS director continues, organizational changes and realignment of resources will move forward under the leadership of Acting Director Thomas R. Insel, MD, and Acting Deputy Director Kathy Hudson, PhD.
For additional information on NCATS, visit http://ncats.nih.gov. For more information regarding the new location of former NCRR grants, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or go to http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-12-026.html.
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