Alexander: Tennessean’s Miraculous Eyesight Recovery Underscores Need for Congress to Pass 21st Century Cures Now

Posted on June 23, 2016

At Bipartisan Policy Center, calls for passage of medical innovation legislation “so more Americans can have access to life-changing treatments and life-saving cures like Doug did”

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 “Why on earth would we not take this opportunity to get a result for millions of Americans who want to find a cure for cancer, get electronic health records systems out of the ditch, and spur cures and treatments, especially for rare pediatric diseases and antibiotic-resistant superbugs?" 

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 23 – Senate health chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today said the miraculous eyesight recovery of Tennessean Doug Oliver underscores the need for passage of 21st Century Cures to “unleash medical innovation and give more Americans access to life-changing treatments and life-saving cures, like Doug did.”

Alexander made his remarks at a Bipartisan Policy Center event alongside former Senator Bill Frist and Congressman Bart Gordon and Nashville resident Doug Oliver who was blind for a decade and regained his sight and driver’s license last year after participating in a clinical trial in Florida, where a doctor removed stem cells from Doug’s hip, spun them in an FDA-cleared centrifuge, and injected them into his eyes.

“Doug Oliver is in Washington this week to tell his story of miraculous eyesight recovery with stem cell treatment—but his is just one we could tell of the remarkable pace of biomedical research today, and passing 21st Century Cures will mean access for more Americans to these kinds of cutting edge medical innovations,” Alexander said. “This is a rare moment of consensus in Washington on an issue important to every American – the president has proposed the Precision Medicine and Cancer Moonshot initiatives, the House passed 344 to 77 its 21st Century Cures Act, the Senate health committee has passed 19 pieces of companion legislation by huge bipartisan margins, and the Senate has shown in the appropriations process that it supports increasing funding for research at the NIH.”

He added: “Why on earth would we not take this opportunity to get a result for millions of Americans who want to find a cure for cancer, get electronic health records systems out of the ditch, and spur cures and treatments, especially for rare pediatric diseases and antibiotic-resistant superbugs?”

Doug Oliver was in Washington this week with four individuals who also participated in his stem cell clinical trial to advocate for passage of 21st Century Cures and access to stem cell treatments. 

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For access to this release and the senator’s other statements, click here.

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