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Bit of a Boost Recommended

The latest draft of the 21st Century Cures Act recommends some $10 billion in additional funding for the next five years for the US National Institutes of Health, ScienceInsider reports.

Such an increase would "help put the NIH on a sustainable growth path and ensure the United States remains the world's medical innovation leader," United for Medical Research says.

In particular, the bill calls for a $1.5 billion increase to the NIH budget each year for the next three years, as well as the creation of an Innovation Fund, which would be funded with $2 billion a year for the next five years, to support promising young researchers, precision medicine, and a third undetermined category, ScienceInsider adds.

However, ScienceInsider notes that the recommended funding increases are "aspirational" as appropriations have to be approved by the respective House and Senate committees. These appropriation committees are bound by spending caps that "leave many of us wondering how these increases are mathematically possible," Benjamin Corb, the director of Public Affairs at American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, says.

Meanwhile, the bill also calls for the Food and Drug Administration to incorporate patient feedback into its drug evaluation process and for the agency to issue a guidance on what constitutes a "precision drug" and how to design clinical trials for such slices of the population, ScienceInsider adds.