SPIE applauds House leaders for passage of the 21st Century Cures Act

Bill provides $4.8 billion for top healthcare and advanced medicine initiatives including cancer and brain research

01 December 2016

BELLINGHAM, Washington, and WASHINGTON, DC, USA — SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, and other members and supporters of the National Photonics Initiative (NPI) today commended the U.S. House of Representatives for passage of H.R. 34, the 21st Century Cures Act. The bill provides $4.8 billion for the three key research programs over the next 10 years: Cancer Moonshot, the Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative, and the Precision Medicine Initiative.

The NPI is an alliance of top scientific societies uniting industry and academia to raise awareness of photonics.

“Passage of the bipartisan 21st Century Cures Act by the House of Representatives is an important step toward maintaining U.S. leadership in healthcare and medical research,” said SPIE President Robert Lieberman. “By fostering innovation, supporting young scientists, and sustaining research to unlock the mysteries of biology and solve medicine’s most pressing problems, this creates a path toward better health for all Americans, and indeed for all people.”

The history of medicine, and of biological science, is closely tied with the history of optics and photonics, Lieberman noted. “From the invention of the microscope to the widespread deployment of surgical lasers, light-based technologies have helped physicians make remarkable advances in human healthcare. This revolutionary impact continues today, and biophotonics is at the forefront of our efforts to understand life, and to cure disease. SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, wholeheartedly supports passage of the Cures Act, and our Members stand ready to help achieve its goals.”

A statement issued yesterday by the White House urged the Senate to pass the bill, which will help develop new technologies, accelerate cancer cures, and tackle diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Optics and photonics have wide applications in health care technology, enhancing the ability to observe and measure symptoms as well as the capability to treat patients earlier with less invasive, more cost-effective methods.

'Biophotonics is at the forefront of our efforts to understand life, and to cure disease.'

About the NPI

The National Photonics Initiative (NPI) is a collaborative alliance among industry, academia and government to raise awareness of photonics and the impact of photonics on our everyday lives; increase cooperation and coordination among US industry, government and academia to advance photonics-driven fields; and drive US funding and investment in areas of photonics critical to maintaining US economic competitiveness and national security. The initiative is being led by top scientific societies including the American Physical Society (APS), the IEEE Photonics Society, the Laser Institute of America (LIA), The Optical Society (OSA) and SPIE, the International Society for Optics and Photonics. For more information visit www.lightourfuture.org.

About SPIE

SPIE is the international society for optics and photonics, an educational not-for-profit organization founded in 1955 to advance light-based science, engineering and technology. The Society serves nearly 264,000 constituents from approximately 166 countries, offering conferences and their published proceedings, continuing education, books, journals, and the SPIE Digital Library. In 2015, SPIE provided more than $5.2 million in support of education and outreach programs. www.spie.org


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