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Radio Shows | Biomedical Research Funding: Is It Paying Off? | mp3wmawav

Today, we'll explore if our investment in biomedical research is paying off? There's a lot we can't seem to live without. Consider antibiotics, vaccines and life saving surgeries.

All of these things were discovered in labs. after painstaking studies. Yet it can be difficult for scientists to get the funding they need to continue their work.

The National Institutes of Health is the primary funding source for biomedical research. That includes everything from drug and clinical trials to fundamental science research. But, the payoff doesn't happen overnight. So sometimes, legislators have a hard time committing money to it.

So is the research is paying off? Well, compared to 1971, Americans are living nearly 7 years longer.

And we're making strides against major killers, too. Take cancer, for example. We spend about 16-dollars per American, per year on research. Despite that low amount, the total number of cancer deaths was down for the first time ever last year.

The other major killer of Americans, heart disease, no longer holds the number one spot for people under the age of 85. Since 1971, those deaths are down by 60%.

Finally, there's HIV/AIDS. To date, research has produced 22 approved drugs and AIDS is now a survivable disease. Life expectancy is now greater than 33 years after initial diagnosis.

Without research in basic science, none of this would have been possible. But there's still much work ahead. Nearly half of us will get cancer and almost two-thirds of all Americans will get hit with heart disease. That's why we need to continue to fund biomedical research.

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