The Research Review Act, which will promote collaborative paralysis research, passed the U.S. Senate in a late night session Tuesday, November 16th, 2004. The Act incorporates a vital component of the pending Christopher Reeve Paralysis Act which calls on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to prepare a report on how they have and how they will encourage the use of multidisciplinary research teams to advance treatments, develop new therapies, and collaborate on clinical trials with respect to spinal cord injury and paralysis research.
Introduced with bipartisan support by Congressional sponsors, Michael Bilirakis (R-Fla.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) H.R. 5213 passed the House on Oct. 7 and the Senate on Nov. 16 unanimously. The act defines key goals of the scientific community - encouraging collaboration and coordination and limiting research redundancy.
It also mandates the release of a report by early next year that quantifies NIH's success to promote coordination in the area of paralysis research. Disability advocates are encouraged by this first-ever piece of legislation approved in the United States that directly addresses spinal cord injury and paralysis research.
"The Research Review Act focuses on what the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation (CRPF) has supported for years -- collaboration between great research minds," said Kathy Lewis, president and CEO of CRPF. "It is our belief that coordination is the only way to achieve the Foundation's goal of finding more effective treatments and a cure for paralysis," continued Lewis.
The passage of the Research Review Act paves the way for the re-introduction of the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Act (CRPA) early in the next Congressional session. The CRPA seeks to advance research into paralysis and Rehabilitation and to improve the quality of life for people living with paralysis.
"Christopher Reeve was extremely proud of the Research Review Act and understood the importance of shining a bright, Congressional light on the work being funded by the NIH and by his Foundation," said CRPF Senior Vice President Michael Manganiello.
"We are saddened that Christopher is not here to see this landmark legislation pass, but we are committed in his memory to fulfill the initiatives outlined in the CRPA," concluded Manganiello.
The Research Review Act expands research information regarding multidisciplinary research projects and epidemiological studies. The bill was developed in coordination with Congress, the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation, and the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation.