By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — A roundtable discussion at University of Michigan-Dearborn Feb. 5 shed light on federal legislation aimed at expediting the approval of new medical cures.
U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn) and U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R-Kalamazoo) hosted the discussion on the bipartisan 21st Century Cures Act, H.R. 6. The act aims to bring funding to help cure patients with diseases like Alzheimer’s and cancer.
Upton and U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) launched the 21st Century Cures initiative to speed up the discovery, development and delivery of life-saving drugs and devices for diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s and diabetes.
The act passed through the U.S. House of Representatives in July with a 344-77 vote. Currently, the act is in the Senat where it was refered it to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.
“The hope is that we can get the act passed into a bill by Memorial Day,” Upton said. “I will be meeting with the vice president to get this pushed through.”
Tammy Carr, the mother of 5-year-old Chad Carr — grandson of former University of Michigan football coach Lloyd Carr who died because of an incurable brain tumor — was in attendance with representatives from other health and disease organizations.
“I’m a mom who lost a child,” she said. “When I see something like this I will be involved. Our family is committed to creating something good from a bad situation in Chad’s name.”
Carr also called for more focus on pediatric research and resources.
In addition to the increased funding, the 21st Century Cures Act aims to speed up the discovery, development and delivery of life saving and improving therapies.
The act aims to remove barriers to increased research collaboration, incorporate the patient perspective into the drug development and regulatory review process, measure success and identify diseases earlier through personalized medicine, and modernize clinical trials.
Also, the bill will remove regulatory uncertainty for the development of new medical applications, provide new incentives for the development of drugs for rare diseases and help the entire biomedical ecosystem coordinate more efficiently to find faster cures.
Finally, the act will invest 21st century science and next generation investigators and keep and create jobs at home.
Dingell said everyone needs to work together to get the bill passed, and not be in competition with each other so each disease cure can be expedited.
“Health care issues are what I care about the most,” she said. “It is very important to meet one-on-one to talk about stories and issues regarding health care.”
For more information on the 21st Century Cures Act go to energycommerce.house.gov.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])