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Time: How to Breathe New Life Into America's Health-Care System

June 8, 2015
Last week, Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) published an op-ed – How to Breathe New Life Into America’s Health-Care System – in Time Magazine on the potential of the 21st Century Cures Act to ‘help modernize the health-care innovation infrastructure, incorporate a patient perspective into the drug and device approval process, support advances in personalized medicine, streamline clinical trials, and provide more resources to support cutting-edge research and help young scientists.’

Rep. Upton points out that there are only 500 treatments for the 10,000 known diseases, the majority of which are rare diseases. The aim of this bill, as pointed out by Rep. Upton, is to ‘deliver the right weapons to win the battle against cancer, Alzheimer’s and other diseases that affect millions of Americans.’

As Rep. Upton writes, ‘With this bill, everyone from patients to researchers to clinicians would have new opportunities to engage with the system that produces treatments and cures. The bill would remove unnecessary paperwork burdens and begin to establish a structured framework for the meaningful incorporation of patient experience data, informing scientists, regulators, and researchers on how a treatment is or is not working. We would break down barriers among the different silos of the health-care innovation infrastructure so doctors would be able to more easily communicate with the researchers, scientists, and innovators who are already working on the next generation of cures and treatments.'

He continues by emphasizing the need to update the regulatory system to unleash new innovations and offer new pathways for health monitoring, treatment, and communication.

We are excited to work with Chairman Upton, Congresswoman DeGette, and members of the Energy and Commerce Committee as they seek ways to ensure our nation maintains its position as the innovation capital of the world through this legislation.

Entrepreneurial biotechnology companies are at the forefront of a revolution in our understanding of the genetic and biomolecular basis of disease. The future of medicine will harness 21st century scientific tools, advancements in molecular biology, and novel bioinformatics to develop and improve upon therapies that can prevent, diagnose, and treat all stages of disease. Forward-looking public policies that sustain scientific discovery and promote biomedical advancement will help save lives and reduce and eliminate suffering.

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.