Three Big Takeaways from 21st Century Cures

The 21st Century Cures Act, signed into law on December 13, 2016, is a game-changer for millions of patients and families across the country. I strongly support Cures, and spent almost three years meeting with doctors, patients, researchers, and advocates from Florida about how government can become an ally — not an obstruction — to medical innovation. Their input is now reflected in the final law.

21st Century Cures means faster discovery, development, and delivery of life-saving new treatments and cures to those who need them most.

Here are three reasons why.

  1. Samantha Lindsay — Lutz, Florida.

Rare diseases are not a rare problem — they impact over 30 million Americans — yet 95 percent of them have no approved treatment. That is the challenge Samantha Lindsay is facing. Samantha was diagnosed with Alpha-1, a rare genetic disease resulting in serious lung problems and difficulty breathing.

She talked about the need to use biomarkers for faster approval of drugs for rare diseases. 21st Century Cures makes improvements to the FDA’s review of biomarkers, ensuring that the FDA is able to precisely judge the benefits and risks of a drug using the most modern technological advancements available.

2. Wayne Taylor — Hudson, Florida

We all know somebody — a friend, a family member, a loved one — who is impacted by cancer. This deadly disease knows no discrimination, and knows no cure. After being diagnosed with leukemia in 2010, Wayne Taylor became a vocal supporter of advancing drug development for better diagnosis and treatment of cancer. 21st Century Cures invests a fully offset $4.8 billion in the National Institutes of Health (NIH), specifically helping advance the “Cancer Moonshot” initiative.

Wayne also spoke of the difficulty of participating in the clinical trials that eventually saved his life. This legislation includes reforms to make clinical trials more patient-focused and input-driven.

3. Dave Morgan, CEO of the Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute at the University of South Florida.

The Byrd Institute at USF, a national leader in Alzheimer’s research and treatment development, has set their goal of preventing and effectively treating Alzheimer’s by 2025. Dave Morgan, CEO of the Byrd Institute, expressed that right now, there is no impactful treatment for the disease and the most recent therapy for Alzheimer’s approved ten years ago.

21st Century Cures will move the needle on Alzheimer’s. In addition to streamlining the Institutional Review Board process for clinical trials across multiple locations, Cures creates a national data collection system for neurological diseases that will help develop better treatments faster. I proudly cosponsored this provision.

You can read eight more reasons Cures is a win for patients here. From mental health reform, to streamlining FDA regulations, and providing seniors with more options in Medicare — the 21st Century Cures Act is going to make a major impact on people’s lives.