Here at the Alliance for Aging Research we are huge fans of the African naked mole rat. Now, why would anyone love a 4-inch squinty-eyed hairless wrinkled rodent with buck teeth?
Scientists at the New York Stem Cell Foundation Laboratory have done what scientists do best: they have narrowed the question. By creating cells capable of growing into any cell type in the human body, research is moving us beyond fear mongering over cloning technologies to study these cells as potential weapons against Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, diabetes and other medical maladies.
On June 26, 2011 I was interviewed by BioCentury This Week to share the Alliance for Aging Research’s impressions on the fifth reauthorization of the Food and Drug Administration’s Prescription Drug User Fee program. Thanks to Congress, we and other active patient groups were able to lend an early voice in helping to shape how user fees might be used to help speed the delivery of better treatments and cures to patient in need of relief from Alzheimer’s, Cancer, Parkinson’s and many more diseases.
As you’ll see from the segments below, we believe that the FDA heard the calls from the patient community loud and clear. Many elements that are slated to receive support from user fees can have a meaningful impact on the future availability of beneficial therapies for unserved patient populations. However, some other groups involved in the reauthorization process do not feel their voices resonated as much. They will take their cases to Congress in hopes that their agendas will become a part of the bill required to renew this program. In evaluating these policy agendas we urge members of Congress to contemplate why these agendas were not incorporated along with that of patients in the reauthorization process already. In doing so we hope that Congress will recognize the real purpose of the user fee program-it is to ensure the timely review of products submitted to the FDA. Remembering this will not only enable FDA to do its job more effectively, but it will also benefit patients.
Below you will find the link to one of the best articles on Alzheimer's I’ve seen to date. It is written by Don C. Reed, a stem cell activist in California, on the promise of current research, and on embryonic stem cells; bringing attention to a subject that is often forgotten and underfunded.
Twenty-five years ago a young lawyer fresh out of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government came to a fledgling group called the Aging Research Policy Council volunteering free legal services. But first he needed support for pro bono work from his firm’s senior partner, Sargent Shriver.
For years we have been urging federal funding increases in biomedical research by citing the countdown to the first wave of Baby Boomers turning age 65 and joining the Medicare rolls.
It seems Dr. Carl Elliott has let his instincts as a provocateur get the better of his perspective as a physician and healer. Promoting his book "White Coat, Black Hat: Adventures on the Dark Side of Medicine,” Dr. Elliott, a frequent contributor to The New Yorker and Atlantic Monthly, finds it deplorable that physicians who use drugs to relieve human misery have any actual contact with companies that research, develop and sell those medicines.
When world class scientists and physicians call for a global project to modify human aging, it is time for policymakers in Washington and elsewhere to take notice.