THE BLOG

Finding a Path to 21st Century Cures

05/06/2014 08:50 am ET | Updated Jul 06, 2014

Talk to any American adolescent and it quickly becomes clear that keeping pace with 21st century technology is a constant challenge. But staying on top of today's technology goes far beyond trending hashtags and Instagram likes; it presents a unique opportunity to bring researchers, innovators, caregivers, and patients together in a new way that advances our collective understanding of disease and how we combat it.

Republican or Democrat, we have a common goal: accelerating the pace of cures in America and keeping this nation at the forefront of medicine and discovery. Maintaining America's place as the health care innovation capital of the world means working together and taking a comprehensive look at the full arc of accelerating cures, from discovery to development to delivery and back again.

From facilitating basic research to streamlining the drug and device development process to unleashing the power of digital medicine and social media at the treatment delivery phase - this cycle is what saves lives.

There should be no gap between 21st century science and the Washington regulatory process. No opportunities to foster the cycle of discovery, development, and delivery should go unexplored.

The 21st century has seen the mapping of the human genome and the rise of personalized medicine. Such scientific and technological breakthroughs have changed the face of many diseases and how we diagnose and treat them. Equally breathtaking, advancements in communications technologies have changed how we learn about what treatments work better for different types of patients.

But are there gaps between 21st century science and technology and the regulatory policies we have in place?

Are there new ways to improve the process of developing and evaluating innovative drugs and devices?

Are there more opportunities for collaboration using new technological resources like cloud computing and social media?

Can advances in how we can aggregate and analyze data improve the process for clinical trials so patients have faster access to treatments?

What else can be done to accelerate the discovery, development, and delivery of innovative new treatments to patients who would benefit from them and how can we keep this cycle accelerating?

We know that this is very much an ongoing conversation and that we certainly do not have all of the answers to these important questions. This is why, over the coming months, we are bringing together all involved parties - NIH, FDA, NGOs, private industry, academics, medical professionals, philanthropists, and patients - so that we can generate better health outcomes and ultimately save more lives.

America must maintain its leadership role in this space to both save lives and create jobs. It is our hope that through this multi-year, collaborative effort - 21st Century Cures - we can put this nation and our scientific pioneers on a swift trajectory to make the predominant diseases of today a thing of the past, providing hope for all.

Today the two of us will formally unveil a bipartisan effort to embark on doing exactly what we've laid out here.

We will be undertaking a number of listening sessions with support and participation from research institutions, disease groups, the NIH, Pharma, and biotech organizations to get the job done.

Next year, we hope to be ready to push for legislation that will literally help the world be on a quest for faster cures.