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National Photonics Initiative Applauds House Leaders for Passage of the 21st Century Cures Act

Bill provides $4.8 billion for top healthcare and advanced medicine initiatives including cancer and brain research
Washington, DC— December 1, 2016 — The National Photonics Initiative, an alliance of top scientific societies uniting industry and academia to raise awareness of photonics, today commended the US House of Representatives for passage of H.R. 34, the 21st Century Cures Act — a bill that provides $4.8 billion for the three key research programs over the next 10 years: Cancer Moonshot, the Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative, and the Precision Medicine Initiative.
Optics and photonics play a key role in health care technology, both in enhancing our ability to observe and measure symptoms, as well as our capability to treat patients earlier with less invasive, more cost-effective methods. In September 2014, the National Photonics Initiative launched the Photonics Industry Neuroscience Group – comprised of top US industry leaders in optics and photonics – which committed an upwards of $30 million in existing and future research and development spending over the following three years to advance optics and photonics technology in support of the BRAIN Initiative; and, in June 2016, the National Photonics Initiative organized a consortium of scientific communities, leading members of medical technology industry, over 350 hospitals and major patient advocacy groups to leverage the more than $3 billion annual private investments in cancer research toward early detection technologies of the most aggressive cancers.
In response to House passage of the 21st Century Cures Act, Alan Willner, chairman of the National Photonics Initiative Steering Committee, issued the following statement:
“On behalf of the National Photonics Initiative, I applaud the US House of Representatives and thank the bill’s sponsors — Reps. Fred Upton (R-MI) and Diana DeGette (D-CO) – for their efforts to pass this meaningful legislation that directs vital funding towards research that will both revolutionize our understanding of the human brain and develop new methods to treat, combat and potentially cure cancer. Optics and photonics plays a key role in solving the challenges facing health care today – from mapping neurons in the brain to the early detection of cancer – and the NPI is pleased that Congress recognizes that the translation of scientific advances into live-saving technological solutions will accelerate our understanding of the mind and body. Our community is encouraged by the overwhelming bi-partisan support for the 21st Century Cures Act in the US House of Representatives, and we urge the US Senate to take similar steps to pass this potentially life-saving legislation.”
The US Senate is scheduled to consider the 21st Century Cures Act on the floor next week.

About the NPI: The National Photonics Initiative (NPI) is a collaborative alliance among industry, academia and government to raise awareness of photonics and the impact of photonics on our everyday lives; increase cooperation and coordination among US industry, government and academia to advance photonics-driven fields; and drive US funding and investment in areas of photonics critical to maintaining US economic competitiveness and national security. The initiative is being led by top scientific societies including the American Physical Society (APS), the IEEE Photonics Society, the Laser Institute of America (LIA), The Optical Society (OSA) and SPIE, the International Society for Optics and Photonics. For more information visit