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TMCNet:  Children's Hospitals Celebrate Enactment of National Pediatric Research Network Act

[December 02, 2013]

Children's Hospitals Celebrate Enactment of National Pediatric Research Network Act

WASHINGTON --(Business Wire)--

Capping a more than six year advocacy effort, President Obama has signed into law legislation authorizing the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to establish the National Pediatric Research Network to strengthen and enhance the nation's commitment to pediatric biomedical research.

On Wednesday, November 27th, President Obama signed into law the PREEMIE Reauthorization Act which contains the National Pediatric Research Network Act as Title II. The legislation enjoyed strong bipartisan support and passed the House and Senate via unanimous voice votes last month. The Coalition for Pediatric Medical Research, a group of about 25 of the nation's leading children's hospitals, has been the leading advocate behind the network for years.

"The President's action is a major victory for our nation's children who stand to benefit from the network because it will help better fund and better coordinate pediatric medical research to accelerate scientific discovery and, ultimately, the development of new therapies and treatments for children," said Dr. Arnold Strauss, Chair of Pediatrics and Chief Medical Office at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.

The law authorizes the NIH to develop a network of pediatric research consortia. Eachconsortium would be comprised of multiple research institutions in a "hub and spoke" arrangement, would be investigator-initiated, and would be competitively selected via the NIH peer review process.


The network legislation was sponsored by Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Representatives Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Lois Capps (D-CA (News - Alert)), Peter King (R-NY) and Diana DeGette (D-CO). Other key supporters included House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Ranking Member Lamar Alexander (R-TN).

"We have seen over the years that research networks help strengthen collaboration and coordination, accelerate research and ensure resources are used wisely. This law will provide NIH with additional tools to advance networked research throughout pediatrics broadly," said Dr. David Williams, Chief, Division of Hematology/Oncology and Director, Translational Research at Boston Children's Hospital.

"The law demonstrates what is possible when members of Congress work together on a bipartisan basis to support our nation's children," added Dr. Bill Hay, Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. "I look forward to working with the coalition and with NIH leaders to implement the network so it can begin to achieve its promise."

Following are key provisions of the network law:

  • Authorizes NIH to establish a National Pediatric Research Network to more effectively support pediatric research and optimize the use of federal research funds.
  • Funding can be used to support basic, clinical, behavioral, or translational research as well as training of researchers to address unmet pediatric research needs.
  • An appropriate number of awards would go to consortia working on pediatric rare diseases or conditions or birth defects and conducting clinical trials of potential therapies for pediatric rare diseases or conditions.
  • Each consortium shall be comprised of multiple institutions, be coordinated by a lead institution and agree to rapidly and efficiently disseminate research findings.
  • Funding allocated to consortia must supplement and not supplant other funding, and award periods cannot exceed five years but may be extended at the discretion of the director of NIH.


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