Medical Research Bill Passed by House


The United States House of Representatives voted 344 to 77 on July 10 to pass the 21st Century Cures Act that will provide the National Institutes for Health (NIH) with much needed medical research funding. In May, concerns addressing the end to NIH’s funding in September were expressed in the media. This bill, that received strong support by both Republicans and Democrats, will increase NIH funding by $8.75 billion over the coming five years. To couple this good news for the medical research organization, Jian Yang of Penn State has “accepted an invitation to serve as a member of the Biomaterials and Biointerfaces (BMBI) Study Section” for the NIH’s Center for Scientific Review.

The NIH medical research Bill that the House passed has made individuals such as Dave Moore with the American Association of Medical Colleges very happy. Moore explains. “We’re very excited about the prospects for the 21st Century Cures Act… Back in 2003, NIH could fund about one out of every three grant applications it received.  Now it funds one out of every six.” With this resurgence of resources the organization will be able to entertain more research proposals than it was able to do under the temporary fix that had been placed on them over the past ten years.


Moore says that this Act allows for funds, $1.75 billion a year for five years, to make it to them that would otherwise be restricted due to federal spending regulations. The NIH has received a flat rate of $30 billion each year for the past decade without any adjustment for inflation. Essentially, this means that the NIH’s “buying power” has decreased by 22 percent in this time. Moore contends that while this influx of money will aid in their ability to move forward with research projects, which means new ideas and new employment opportunities for young scientists, it is not a cure-all.

As of July 1, one new addition to NIH is Penn State professor of biomedical engineering, Jian Yang. Yang, who has won several NIH grants over his career, now acting as a member of the BMBI will be reviewing and approving grants for medical research. Yang was invited to take this position based on his “research accomplishments, publications in scientific journals and other significant scientific activities, achievements and honors.” Yang earned the NSF Early Career Development Award in 2010 and has “published 75 peer-reviewed journal articles, eight issued patents, and seven book chapters.” Also, for his work with high school students, Yang has earned a featuring in the American Society for Engineering Education’s “First Bell” publication.

The 21st Century Cures Act passed Friday by the House is going to provide NIH with the monetary support that it will need for continuing to play its pivotal role in the medical research industry. The concerns raised in May seem to have found receptive ears as was apparent following the House’s overwhelming vote to pass the Bill. To help with this transition Jian Yang has accepted his invitation to a four year term that will focus on the future of medical research at NIH.

By Joel Wickwire


NPR – “Bill to Boost Medical Research Comes With A Catch”

Penn State News – “Yang to serve as member of National Institutes of Health study section”

The Wall Street Journal – “House Votes to Boost Funding for Medical Research”

Photo Attributed to Sage Ross‘s Flickr Page – Creative Commons Flickr License

Photo Attributed to NIAID‘s Flickr Page – Creative Commons Flickr License

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