Last week the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the bill containing funding for the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering. S. 2810, the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill, would increase NIBIB funding by 4.8%, or $13.7 million, from $287.1 million to $300.8 million. The House has already passed its version of this bill, providing the Bush Administration's request of $297.7 million, an increase of 3.7%. The full Senate has not yet voted on this bill.
Accompanying this FY 2005 funding bill is Senate Report 108-636. The following is the complete text of the report regarding NIBIB:
"The Committee recommends an appropriation of $300,800,000 for the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering [NIBIB]. The budget requested $297,647,000 and the fiscal year 2004 appropriation was $287,129,000. The comparable amounts for the budget estimate include funds to be transferred from the Office of AIDS Research.
"Mission- The NIBIB improves health by promoting fundamental discoveries, design and development, and translation and assessment of technological capabilities in biomedical imaging and bioengineering, enabled by relevant areas of information science, physics, chemistry, mathematics, materials science, and computer sciences. The Institute plans, conducts, fosters, and supports an integrated and coordinated program of research and research training that can be applied to a broad spectrum of biological processes, disorders and diseases and across organ systems. The Institute coordinates with the biomedical imaging and bioengineering programs of other agencies and NIH Institutes to support imaging and engineering research with potential medical applications and facilitates the transfer of such technologies to medical applications.
"Artificial Tissues- The Committee encourages the Institute to focus on improved tissue and organ imaging technologies and on the growth of artificial tissues. Progress in these fields will have multiple benefits including addressing issues such as invasive diagnostics tests now required for liver diseases and the need to address the shortage of livers and other organs available for transplantation.
"Cardio-vascular Surgery- Cardio-vascular surgery depends on the development of new materials and tools that can be used in surgical management of heart and lung disease. The Committee is encouraged that the Institute has recognized the importance of this concept and implemented programs in advanced biomaterials and tissue engineering that have a direct bearing on these surgical fields.
"Imaging Techniques- The Committee urges NIBIB to make new bone imaging techniques a primary focus, speeding the development of new imaging modalities that better capture bone quality, including bone micro- and macro-architecture, quantification of bone mass and crystalline composition. This is necessary to develop diagnostic and treatment therapies for patients with metabolic bone diseases. The Committee urges NIBIB to participate actively in trans-NIH initiatives that address these priorities.
"Pet MicroPET Scans- The Committee continues to encourage this new Institute to devote significant resources to molecular imaging technologies such as positron emission tomography [PET] and microPET to take advantage of the capacities of molecular imaging to detect disease process at the molecular level and to monitor the effectiveness of targeted gene therapies now under development. The Committee also encourages the new Institute to develop its research agenda in close collaboration with other, disease-specific Institutes at NIH, so that new imaging technologies are closely tied to the research projects being undertaken by the various other Institutes of NIH."
Also of interest is committee language in the preamble of the section on the National Institute of Health providing the committee's perspective on biomedical funding and the increases which Congress has made in NIH's funding:
"This Committee has long recognized the role NIH can and does play in transforming the health status of America. In 1998, the Committee embarked on a 5-year endeavor to double the investment in NIH in an effort to quicken the pace and intensity of this transformation. Although it is impossible to predict what cures or new treatments will emerge as a result, it is certain that the infusion of new funds during the doubling process helped push back the frontiers of scientific knowledge, while attracting the best and brightest minds to careers in medical research. However, the accumulation of fundamental knowledge for its own sake is of little value unless it finds its way to hospitals and physicians, where it can be put to use in promoting good health or diagnosing, preventing and treating disease. For that to happen requires a robust commitment of resources over a sustained period. The Committee recommends $28,900,300,000 for the NIH. This amount is $1,100,252,000 above the fiscal year 2004 appropriation and $373,429,000 over the budget request."