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Chairman Upton and Rep. DeGette Op-Ed: Can We Find Cures for 7,000 Diseases?

January 14, 2015
In a op-ed, Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO) provide highlights of policies that they intend to propose to help get more cures and treatments for the more than 7,000 diseases for which only 500 have cures and treatments.

Chairman Upton and Rep. DeGette launched the 21st Century Cures Initiative to identify areas of reform to help ‘close the gap between the science of medicine and the regulations that impact the volume and fate of new therapies.’

To date, the committee and its members have issued four white papers and hosted numerous hearings and roundtables around the country to gather stakeholder input. In January, 21st Century Cures will release a discussion draft based on their review of input from patients and advocates, health care workers and researchers, and government and the private sector.

In the op-ed, Chairman Upton and Rep. DeGette outline several broad areas that may help speed the cycle of finding faster cures:

1. Modernize clinical trials to streamline the approval of drugs and devices.
2. Integrate the patient perspective into the regulatory process.
3. Promote better access to and sharing of information such as genomic and other clinical data to foster more collaboration among researchers.
4. Invest in the future of science to support and encourage young, emerging scientists.
5. Incentivize new drugs and devices for unmet medical needs.

Finally, Chairman Upton and Rep. DeGette emphasize the strength and increase of promising science as the impetus to ‘modernize policy to move the process of discovery, development and delivery even faster.’

BIO echoes the sentiments of Chairman Upton and Rep. DeGette and members of the Energy and Commerce Committee and thanks them for their important efforts. We envision a future where a patient walks into their physician’s office and hearing the words “you have cancer” or “the diagnosis is Alzheimer’s” no longer represents a death-sentence.

The urgency of finding and developing 21st Century Cures cannot be overstated. It is difficult to find anyone whose life has not been affected by devastating diseases such as Alzheimer’s, cancer, Parkinson’s, diabetes, or rare genetic conditions. Biotech holds the greatest promise for finding a cure. We must act now for the patients and their families who are counting on us.

BIO President and CEO Jim Greenwood will sit down with Chairman Upton and Rep. DeGette at the BIO CEO & Investor Conference in New York City, February 9-10 to discuss revolutionizing the drug development process to ensure that patients fully realize the benefits of advancements in biotech.

Learn more about 21st Century Cures online here, and share your thoughts on Twitter using #Path2Cures. The op-ed can be accessed here. Get more information and register for the upcoming BIO CEO & Investor Conference here.