February 15, 2016

Louisiana must invest in scientific research

We live in an era of unprecedented scientific discovery and possibility. In our lifetimes, we will see cancer cured, diseases stopped and the discovery of things that we cannot even imagine. The future is exciting, and it’s now. As a doctor, researcher and U.S. senator for Louisiana, I am excited that we stand on the precipice of discovery. In our state, we could prevent 60 cancer diagnoses every day and save 177 people who die from cancer every week.

Scientists are working to develop new drugs and find new treatments that will improve the quality of life for us all. Universities are especially important in advancing our scientific knowledge, as they are often on the front line of discovery and address problems that commercial laboratories often do not. In turn, agencies such as the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation enable faculty to conduct longtime exploration of some of humanity’s greatest questions.

Louisiana has tremendous potential to lead us into the new frontier of scientific discovery. We have some of the best and brightest scientific minds, but we must ensure that those minds are not lured away by states offering more research opportunities than Louisiana. This will not only improves health outcomes but also results in economic development for the state. Louisiana should be home for researchers who want to make a difference. In Louisiana, nearly half of our research and development takes place in our universities — a much higher rate than in other states. As a U.S. senator, I am committed to ensuring Louisiana can reinvest in its university research infrastructure. As a researcher, I know how close we are to some unbelievable new discoveries, and I am excited for Louisiana’s research universities to be a leader in that effort.

Let’s do whatever we can to help facilitate their success. If we do this, patients benefit, our economy benefits, we benefit. Let’s do it for us.

-Dr. Bill Cassidy, U.S. Senator for Louisiana