Preserving U.S. Leadership in Basic Science

Preserving U.S. Leadership in Basic Science

03.06.13 | By Karl Uhlendorf

A commentary posted today on Forbes nicely captures the vital importance of well-funded basic biomedical research to future innovation.

The authors call for a "bipartisan commitment to our nation's science investment by restoring the budgets of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other science agencies that support basic biomedical research in universities and medical schools in all 50 states - an area of federal spending that is highly productive and a critical investment."

They explain how basic research has led to life-extending advances in heart disease, stroke and HIV - and touch on the challenges ahead in diseases such as Alzheimer's and diabetes. They delve into the considerable human and economic benefits of investments in NIH.

They assert that continued investment in basic biomedical science is "key to our economic competitiveness," touching on the unique American ecosystem of government-funded basic research, academic research institutions, start-up biotech companies and established biopharmaceutical companies - and the efforts of countries such as China and India to build their own bioscience infrastructures.

Considering the collective experience of the three luminary authors - Marc Tessier-Lavigne, president of The Rockefeller University and former chief scientific officer at Genentech; P. Roy Vagelos, chairman of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and former chairman and CEO, Merck & Co.; and Elias Zerhouni, President R&D at Sanofi and former director of the National Institutes of Health - I hope Congress and the Administration listens.

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