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Faster Turnaround

A pair of lawmakers in the US House of Representatives has teamed up on an initiative to modernize the drug development and approval process, ScienceInsider reports.

Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) and Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) are concerned about the increasing time and cost it takes to get a drug to market. "Health research is moving quickly, but the federal drug and device approval apparatus is in many ways the relic of another era. We have dedicated scientists and bold leaders at agencies like the NIH and the FDA, but when our laws don't keep pace with innovation, we all lose," DeGette said in a video announcing the initiative.

Their bipartisan 21st Century Cures initiative is currently seeking input from scientists, patients, regulators, and industry, and then may introduce laws aimed at speeding up the transition of therapies from the lab into the clinic.

The duo recently held an informal roundtable that included National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins and Janet Woodcock from the Food and Drug Administration, among others. That discussion, ScienceInsider reports, focused on "what are likely to be recurring buzzwords," including setting up "clinical trial networks," finding "surrogate endpoints" for clinical trials, and increasing the use of the "accelerated approval" option.

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