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NIH Director Francis Collins and CF Foundation to Brief U.S. Senate on Advancing Disease Research

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Drug Development Model Spawns More Than 30 Promising Therapies

May 19, 2010

(Bethesda, Md.) – National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., will lead a briefing on Capitol Hill Thursday, May 20, to discuss how funding for medical research at the NIH can be used more quickly to create new therapies for patients and save lives.

Since being appointed director of the NIH, Collins has stressed the importance of bridging the gap between basic research discoveries and the human testing of drugs. On average, it takes 15 years to translate scientific findings into viable therapies.

Collins created an NIH program—Therapeutics for Rare and Neglected Diseases (TRND)—and cites the drug development efforts of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation as a model: “The CF Foundation has shown the way, has lit up the path…and what’s been learned from CF can be extrapolated, generalized, to hundreds of other diseases.”

Fifty years ago, people with cystic fibrosis, a fatal genetic disease, did not live long enough to attend grade school. Today there are more than 30 CF drugs in development and median life expectancy for someone with the disease is 37 years.


  • How U.S. investments in medical research at the NIH can be leveraged to create new therapies for patients and save lives.
  • Accelerating development of medical solutions for chronic diseases
  • Highlighting lessons learned from other diseases, including CF
  • Bridging the “Valley of Death” between science discoveries and the creation of new drugs


  • Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., Director, National Institutes of Health and co-discoverer of the CF gene
  • Senators Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) and Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.)
  • Robert J. Beall, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
  • Moderator: Margaret Anderson, Executive Director, FasterCures / The Center for Accelerating Medical Solutions

WHEN: Thursday, May 20, 2010, 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

WHERE: Dirksen Senate Office Building, G-11
About the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is the world’s leader in the search for a cure for cystic fibrosis. The Foundation funds more CF research than any other organization and nearly every CF drug available today was made possible because of Foundation support. Based in Bethesda, Md., the Foundation also supports and accredits a national care center network that has been recognized by the National Institutes of Health as a model of care for a chronic disease. For more information, please visit

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The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is an accredited charity of the Better Business Bureau.