2 min readObama Announces $5 Billion to Fund Cutting-edge Medical Research

Bethesda, MD – President Barack Obama announced $5 billion in grant awards under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) to fund cutting-edge medical research in every state across America.

In a visit to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) campus, the president announced that more than 12,000 grant awards are expected to create tens of thousands of jobs over the next two years and are part of an overall $100 billion Recovery Act investment in science and technology to lay the foundation for the innovation economy of the future.

“We know that this kind of investment will also lead to new jobs: tens of thousands of jobs conducting research, manufacturing and supplying medical equipment, and building and modernizing laboratories and research facilities,” said President Obama.  “I’ve long said, the goal of the Recovery Act was not to create make-work jobs, but jobs making a difference for our future. There is no better example than the jobs we will produce or preserve through the grants we are announcing this morning.” 

“This historic investment demonstrates this administration’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of science and turning those discoveries into benefits for the American people.  NIH researchers and grantees are already conducting some of the world’s most groundbreaking biomedical research, said Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “These awards will accelerate our progress towards the new medicines, treatments, and cures that will help Americans live longer, healthier lives.

By creating new programs, such as Challenge Grants, Grand Opportunity grants, and Signature Initiatives, NIH is funding innovative research throughout the nation.  The grant awards will support the full spectrum of medical research—from basic research to clinical and translational studies.  The Recovery Act funded NIH grants are in several areas including heart disease, autism, HIV-AIDS, H1N1 Flu and cancer.

More than $1 billion of the grant funding is dedicated to research applying the technology produced by the Human Genome Project between 1990 and 2003.  This new funding will allow researchers to make “quantum leaps” forward in studying the genomic changes linked to cancer, heart, lung, and blood disease and autism– potentially leading to new treatments and cures.  The investment includes $175 million for The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) to collect more than 20,000 tissue samples from more than 20 cancers, and determine in detail all of the genetic changes in thousands of these tumour samples.  TCGA involves more than 150 scientists at dozens of institutions around the country.  All data will be rapidly deposited in databases accessible to the worldwide research community.

“We are about to see a quantum leap in our understanding of cancer,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.  “Cancer is a disease of DNA—it occurs when glitches in the DNA cause a good cell to go bad.  This ambitious effort promises to open new windows into the biology of all cancers, transform approaches to cancer research and raise the curtain on a more personalized era of cancer care.  This is an excellent example of how the Recovery Act is fuelling discoveries that will fundamentally change the way we fight disease and improve our lives.”

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