WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. -- The 21st Century Cures Act designates more than $6 billion in funding for medical research. That could be a game-changer.
U.S. Representatives Brian Higgins (D) and Chris Collins (R) announced the bill's passing Friday at the Alzheimer's Association of Western New York.
"So 21st Century Cures is aimed to do just what it says. To incentivize, innovation, to defeat diseases, to bring cures in the 21st century for those diseases that are now deemed incurable," said Rep. Collins.
The bill provides money for research, speeds up the drug approval process and devotes money to combating cancer and opioid abuse. Supporters of the legislation say there are new drugs and studies available, but developing them requires more money.
"This has a number of potentials, certainly from the standpoint of research which is desperately needed," said Michael Maloney, an ALS patient. "ALS is not incurable, it's under-funded. As we look at trying to find that difference, this will go a long way."
"It's indescribably important [because] of funding towards the Brain Initiative at the National Institute of Health. The Brain Initiative unlocks some of the barriers we have to innovating and funding the technologies that we don't have yet for this disease," said Leilani Pelletier, executive director for Alzheimer's Association of WNY.
The 21st Century Cures Act also includes funding and reforms to the mental health system. President Obama is expected to sign the legislation before the end of the year.