UNMC staff excited for passage of Cures Act

Posted at 11:15 PM, Dec 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-15 00:16:46-05

There’s new hope for those battling cancer a day after that fight got a multi-billion-dollar federal boost.

The 21st Century Cures Act just signed into law is over 200-pages worth of medically-related items in it.

But the biggest impact researches said is the money going to cancer research and staff at UNMC are excited for what's to come.

“It's going to be directed toward specific research projects,” said UNMC Associate Director of Research Dr. Tony Hollingsworth.

The Act provides almost 5-billion dollars to the National Institutes of Health over the next 10 years; almost 2-billion of that directly towards cancer research.

“Being able to increase this means we'll be able to expand research, I think, into a lot of really significant areas,” said Hollingsworth.

One of which is pancreatic cancer, Hollingsworth said it's one of the deadliest types of cancer because doctors don't notice it until it's too late.

“Kills patients in ways that other cancers don't and we don't completely understand that,” said Hollingsworth

UMNC already received about 500-thousand dollars to help research the cause of pancreatic cancer.

Hollingsworth said most of the money goes towards salaries of those studying the disease.

“We're able to hire graduate students and technicians and post doctoral fellows that come into the laboratory to actually work on the research,” said Hollingsworth.

Like grad student Krysten Vance.

“We've got a panel so far of 18 different cell types that we've done on 5 different autopsy slides,” said Vance.

She studies tumor cells in an effort to unlock the mystery surrounding them.

“I really like to figuring out how the immune system tries to fight these types of things,” said Vance.

In hopes that one day-pancreatic cancer is a thing of the past.

“To understand how the disease kills you, why it is so lethal and how it progresses silently and to try to come up with therapies that will block that process,” said Hollingsworth.

There is a provision in the bill to help young scientists by providing loan relief for graduate school and a college debt incentive for biomedical research.

The Fred and Pamela Buffett Cancer Center will open in the Spring which researchers said will also help cancer research.