Rep. Fattah Advances Neuroscience Agenda at Meetings with Massachusetts Officials and Medical Leaders
BOSTON, June 22, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA), a leading voice in Congress for neuroscience research, met today with a top adviser to Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick to explore Fattah’s idea to adapt the new Massachusetts Neuroscience Consortium as the model for a national public-private-nonprofit partnership on brain research.
Fattah’s schedule in the Boston area includes a meeting at Harvard University with a leading neuroscientist who is heading to the University of Pennsylvania as well as a site visit with officials of Pfizer Inc. in Cambridge, Mass. Pfizer recently opened a major research and development hub in Cambridge as an entrepreneurial network of partnerships with leading academic medical centers. Fattah met in Washington last month with Pfizer’s head of research and development.
“This new Consortium based in Boston and Cambridge is an exciting development for future advances in brain science and medicine,” Fattah said. “The Consortium can provide us with the model for a major national partnership of government, the pharmaceutical industry, leading academic researchers and medical schools.
“This coordinated approach, putting together our best and brightest, can be good news for the tens of millions of Americans affected by every kind of brain disorder from Alzheimer’s to sports concussions, battlefield injuries and childhood learning disabilities,” Fattah said.
Fattah is the author of the Fattah Neuroscience Initiative that establishes the Interagency Working Group on Neuroscience at the White House to coordinate federal brain injury and brain disease research and development. Currently at least four separate federal departments and agencies are involved in funding or overseeing various aspects of neuroscience research.
The Congressman met today with Susan Windham-Bannister, a key advisor to Governor Patrick as President and CEO of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, a quasi-public connector for public-private-academic collaboration. The Life Sciences Center was a major component of the Neuroscience Consortium announced Wednesday by Governor Patrick, which also includes Pfizer and six other global biopharmaceutical companies. It is designed to leverage and accelerate biomedical and brain science research involving the pharmaceutical industry and academic researchers in industry-academic collaborations.
The Philadelphia Congressman also is consulting today with Harvard University neuroscientists including Frances E. Jensen, MD, Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Jensen has just been named Chair of the Department of Neurology in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Jensen, who starts Aug. 13 at Penn, the nation’s oldest neurology department dating to 1871, is a senior neurologist at both Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Children’s Hospital in Boston.
Fattah said he would like to attract more interest in neuroscience research among pharmaceutical giants like Pfizer but proposing reforms in patent law to increase the incentives for new discoveries and treatment in brain disease. Fattah is the senior Democratic appropriator on the House Appropriations Committee for the Department of Commerce, which administers the patent process.
SOURCE Office of Congressman Chaka Fattah