Ernst sponsors bipartisan bill to ramp up pediatric research at NIH

U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) on July 18 sponsored a bipartisan bill to increase pediatric research collaboration across all 27 institutes within the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

“I’m proud to lead this bipartisan effort to streamline pediatric research throughout the NIH with the hope of healing America’s children,” Sen. Ernst said.

The lawmaker unveiled the Pediatricians Accelerate Childhood Therapies Act, S. 2345, alongside original cosponsor U.S. Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) to authorize the NIH director to make awards to outstanding scientists, including physician-scientists, to support researchers focusing on pediatric research, including basic, clinical, translational, or pediatric pharmacological research, according to the congressional record bill summary.

Specifically, S. 2345 would develop a set of research priorities within the NIH to support outstanding pediatric researchers and align pediatric research topics with the current and future priorities of the agency, according to a summary provided by Sen. Ernst’s staff.

If enacted, S. 2345 also would direct the NIH Pediatric Research Consortium to improve coordination and identify gaps and opportunities to support the development of new treatments and cures for diseases and conditions that affect children, the summary says.

“Pediatric research of complex medical conditions is critical to protecting the health and improving the lives of kids in Iowa and across the country,” said Sen. Ernst. “As childhood cancer diagnoses continue to climb, we must ensure that our strongest researchers are working together to find the best cures and treatments available.”

The bill is supported by Blank Children’s Hospital & Women’s Services, ChildServe, MercyOne Children’s, and the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.