Over the past decade, collaborative research efforts to support the discovery and development of medicines has increased dramatically. Last month, the National Institutes of Health and Eli Lilly and Company announced a new collaboration: they will generate a publicly available resource to profile the effects of thousands of approved and investigational medicines in a variety of advanced disease-relevant testing systems . In-depth knowledge of the biological profiles of these medicines may enable researchers to better predict treatment outcomes, improve drug development, and lead to more specific and effective approaches.
In a move to re-engineer the process of translating scientific discoveries into new drugs, diagnostics, and devices, the National Institutes of Health has established the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS). The action was made possible by Congress’ approval of a fiscal year 2012 spending bill and the president’s signing of the bill, which includes the establishment of NCATS with a budget of $575 million.
In President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address last month, he argued that government support for research and development to fund innovation is a necessary and critical investment that must be made, even in the face of a rising national debt. A coalition of biomedical researchers support his vision on science. The 2012 budget President Obama sent to Congress earlier this month seeks an increase in funding for biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and in basic science at other agencies, while making cuts and freezes in many other areas of government.
Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), said last month that he is moving ahead with a plan to create a new center focused on translational medicine, presently called the National Center for the Advancement of Translational Sciences (NCATS) . The strategy comes at a time of mounting frustration from researchers that the abundance of new information about the molecular basis of many diseases hasn’t led to the development of new therapies.