The next act: ACRO, R&D Caucus moving forward with second Cures bill

By Melissa Fassbender

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/DenKuvaiev)
(Image: Getty/DenKuvaiev)

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ACRO is collaborating with the Congressional Research and Development Caucus and others to bring forth a new Cures bill focused, in part, on patient engagement, data, and digital health – with draft legislation anticipated early next year.

The Association of Clinical Research Organizations (ACRO) and the Congressional Research and Development Caucus for the 116th Congress recently hosted a Congressional Briefing on Capitol Hill.

Congressman Bill Foster (D-IL) and Congressman Jim Baird (R-IN) are co-chairs of the caucus, which was established to bring attention to the importance of research and development and advocate for funding.

ACRO worked with the caucus and co-chairs to discuss how the 21st Century Cures Act has affected clinical research since being passed three years ago.

“The panelists highlighted the ways in which technology continues to reduce the burden put on patients, and investigators, to participate in trials, and to improve the ability of researchers to match patients with the right clinical trial,”​ said Sophia McLeod, ACRO director of government relations.

“The use of artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) is the new frontier on which ACRO member companies are innovating to analyze large data sets and facilitate improvements in the clinical development process,”​ she told us.

After supporting the drafting of the 21st Century Cures, McLeod said the association “looks forward to being involved once again as Reps. DeGette and Upton bring forth a second Cures bill.”

The new Cures bill will reportedly focus more on delivery, in contrast to the original bill which focused on discovery and development, though these areas will be included, McLeod said. Patient engagement, data, and digital health are also expected to be areas of concern. As per rollout, draft legislation is anticipated to come out early next year.

“Robust research and development are crucial in our efforts to confront some of the biggest challenges we face from combating the effects of climate change to fighting the opioid epidemic and discovering new treatments and cures for diseases,”​ Congressman Foster said in an announcement addressing his co-chair.

“It is important to identify areas of research that are critical to advancement, so we can invest in initiatives that will move us forward. The advances we make in technology and development shape the world for future generations, and it is our duty to ensure that America remains at the forefront of innovation,”​ added Congressman Baird.

“In order to do that, the work of our scientists must be highlighted,” ​he added. “It is a great privilege to share their progress and achievements with my colleagues as we support R&D nationwide.”

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