MIT To Release Results of a Report Examining U.S. Innovation Deficit in Treating Alzheimer’s, Other Fields

Ana de Barros, PhD avatar

by Ana de Barros, PhD |

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According to a recent press releaseMIT will release the results of a novel report that examined the impact of a decline in investment by the U.S. federal government in basic research. Newspersons can attend the event, which will take place in Washington, D.C. During the event, there will be presentations by Rush Holt, the CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS); by Katrine Bosley, the CEO of Editas Medicine, by the MIT Professor Marc Kastner, who is president of the Science Philanthropy Alliance; and also by chosen MIT faculty.

The report titled “The Future Postponed: Why Declining Investment in Basic Research Threatens a U.S. Innovation Deficit,” was compiled by the MIT Committee to assess the effects of the cuts in research in the future of United States scientific research. The report emphasizes basic research opportunities in basic research to maintain and restructure the U.S. economic power and also to benefit society.

Whereas the United States competitors are increasing their basic research investment, which will lead to prominent accomplishments such as the successfully landing the first spacecraft on a comet by the European Space Agency, the development of the world’s fastest supercomputer, and research in plant biology revealing new ways to meet global food demand by China — the part the research budget of the United States dropped in 1968 from just below 10% and in to 2015 to less than 4%.

During the event, MIT researchers will provide examples of relevant fields that require investment, emphasizing potential opportunities and research needing the United States government support.

In the report, the researchers highlight the FDA approval of 19 new cancer medications during the past two years, thanks to extensive basic research in the field of cancer biology.

Nevertheless, during the past 10 years, no new drugs have been approved for Alzheimer’s disease, a condition that affects 5 million people in the U.S. The authors of the report also underscore the need to expand research in many fields of knowledge, including brain chemistry, neurobiology, and the aging science targeting treatments for Alzheimer’s disease.

The report also mentions the need for expansion of research developed at the university level into new drugs to address the increasing health threat of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, a research field with a major lack of investment.

Research in the field of synthetic biology could lead to novel developments such as tailored treatments for genetic diseases, and climate-friendly fuels, engineered viruses that can identify and kill cancer cells; nonetheless, the lack of assets in laboratory facilities is making top-talent researchers move overseas.

According to the report, the United States can assume leadership in many areas such as robotics, research in fusion energy, and the development of quantum information technologies, as well as accelerate efforts to treat diseases such as Alzheimer’s that are estimated to continue to increase in the decades ahead.