The Center for Health Transformation- Research is the Foundation of All New Advances in Medicine | Friends of Cancer Research

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The Center for Health Transformation- Research is the Foundation of All New Advances in Medicine

Without sustained investment in biomedical research and innovation to better understand and treat disease, the long-overdue reforms being debate

d today aimed at achieving access for all patients will have its limits. Swift action on comprehensive health care reform is vital to the future health of this country. However, access to ineffective care is not the reform we all envision.  Improving the understanding of existing medical options, as well as sharp focus on development of the therapies of tomorrow, should be a pillar of much-needed health care reform. 

For the past century, research has been the foundation of all new advances in medicine – from the discovery of penicillin to today’s targeted cancer therapies. Without research, new vaccines and new cures will not be developed, and the costs of health care will remain unacceptably high for American families.

Twenty years ago the mapping of the human genome was unthinkable at the outset. But its successful completion demonstrates the power of innovation and collaboration to make the impossible, possible. Continued biomedical research is crucial for improving the quality of life of Americans, and eliminating the physical, emotional and financial burden of disease.

While increased access is vital, in order for health reform to be truly meaningful a continuous commitment to discovery is needed so we can understand how to prevent disease in the first place.

We should undoubtedly do more to prevent the diseases where known preventative measures exist, and Congress deserves whole-hearted support for their reform efforts in making this a top priority. However, many life threatening diseases, like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and several of the most lethal cancers like brain, pancreatic and ovarian, currently have no known preventive mechanism and many diseases have no viable treatment options. Expanding access when there are few successful treatment options provides little hope for patients afflicted by these diseases.

As the health care discussion continues, we must generate policies aimed at encouraging and supporting science and continue to stimulate biomedical research and innovation in the United States.


Ellen Ellen V. Sigal, PhD, is Chair & Founder of Friends of Cancer Research, a non-profit organization that pioneers innovative public-private partnerships, organizes critical policy forums, educates the public, and bring together key communities to overcome the barriers standing between patients and the most promising cancer treatments.