Cures Acceleration Network Update

     The Cures Acceleration Network (CAN), a key component of health reform legislation, aims to speed up the development of new drugs and therapies.
The bill authorizes Congress to appropriate up to $500 million to establish CAN in the Office of the Director at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  The Parkinson's community has been a leader on this issue in Washington, DC, and it is heartening to see a level of support for this program that unites patient advocacy organizations, biotech companies, research institutions, and NIH itself.
On May 5, NIH Director Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., testified before the Senate Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, and had this to say about CAN:
"From my perspective, this is one of the five themes that I published in Science Magazine as being most worthy of high priority attention.  The Cures Acceleration Network fits very nicely into that but provides some additional flexibility.  So this is a very high priority for us."
Please stay tuned to PAN Action Alerts as the appropriations process continues in Congress - your help will be needed to secure funding for cutting-edge research into the next generation of treatments and cures for Parkinson's and other diseases.
We are pleased that NIH now has the authority to establish CAN.  We urge Congress to appropriate $500 million for CAN in Fiscal Year 2011 and that the funds be made available until expended.  This will allow NIH to begin implementation of CAN, establish the CAN Board, analyze the research needs, and start the process of making the kinds of translational grants that will get new drugs and therapies to those who most need them.
PAN is leading the effort to secure funding for CAN.  In April, PAN gathered 81 organization signatures on a letter urging the Senate Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee to appropriate $500 million for CAN.  In May, 84 organizations signed on to a similar letter urging the House Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee to provide the full funding.