President Obama has signed into law legislation to fund cancer research and battling drug abuse.

Published: Dec. 13, 2016 at 4:42 PM EST
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President Barack Obama has signed into law legislation that makes new investments in cancer research and battling drug abuse.

Obama signed the bill at a ceremony on the White House campus flanked by Vice President Joe Biden and key lawmakers.

The 21st Century Cures Act invests $1.8 billion for a cancer research "moonshot" that is strongly supported by Biden. The vice president's son Beau died of brain cancer in 2015.

The bill also authorizes giving states $1 billion over two years to prevent and treat the abuse of opioids and other addictive drugs like heroin.

Overall, the measure plans $6.3 billion in new spending over the coming decade. The bill also streamlines the approval process for drugs and medical devices at the Food and Drug Administration.

In a press release to WAGM, Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) says this:

“Maintaining our nation’s competitive edge in both research and innovation depends greatly on the strength of our commitment to attracting, cultivating, and equipping world-class scientific minds,” said Senator Collins. “Our bipartisan legislation strengthens our nation’s commitment to the next generation of cutting-edge researchers. This critical investment will help to empower these young innovative researchers in Maine and across our country with the resources they need to continue to lead the world in groundbreaking scientific research and development.”

The Next Generation Researchers Act will establish the Next Generation of Researchers Initiative within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of the Director to coordinate all current and new NIH policies to promote opportunities for our new scientists and earlier research independence. This measure will also improve NIH’s loan repayment programs by increasing the amount of loans that NIH can forgive for trainees, from $35,000 a year to $50,000.

The Next Generation Researchers Act was also supported by: AcademyHealth, American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC), American Association for Dental Researchers (AADR), American Heart Association, American Society of Transplantation (AST), Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), BioForward, Inc., and Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB).