U.S. Representatives Call for Increased Medical Research Funding

On Wednesday, over 100 members of the U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter to the House Committee on Appropriations asking the legislative body to increase funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The NIH is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and is the nation's medical research agency. It conducts and supports research to better understand disease, human growth, environmental contaminants and mental health.

In their letter, the signees urged the Appropriations Committee to work with the Senate to increase NIH funding to $32 billion in 2016.

"Insufficient funding for NIH has a serious, wide-ranging impact on our nation's health and our capacity for medical innovation in the 21st century," said the representatives.

The NIH is the leading funder of Parkinson's disease (PD) research — spending $139 million on PD in 2014 — and plays an important role in this field. The agency also provides resources for patients, families and caregivers.

The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) collaborates frequently with the NIH on such initiatives as the MJFF-led Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative and researcher access to Parkinson's data and biosamples. NIH scientists sit on the MJFF Scientific Advisory Board, and, conversely, MJFF CEO Todd Sherer, PhD, is a member of the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Science Advisory Council.

"If we are serious about breaking new ground in our understanding of complex diseases like Alzheimer's and cancer, and if we hope to accelerate the speed with which new cures, treatments, and vaccines are developed, then it's absolutely essential that we increase funding for medical research at [the] NIH," said the representatives encouraging increased funding.

Visit the Parkinson's Action Network website to learn more about PD research funding.

Contact your representative to urge them to support an increased budget for the NIH.

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