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FOGARTY INTERNATIONAL CENTER
STATEMENT OF DR. PHILIP SCHAMBRA, DIRECTOR
BUDGET REQUEST Senator HARKIN. Dr. Schambra, the committee has your request of $19.9 million, which is $13.7 million more than last year.
We are familiar with your programs to support visits of foreign scientists to the United States and the placement of U.S. scientists overseas. The committee looks forward to hearing about your expanding Eastern European and Latin American initiatives.
Welcome and please proceed with your statement.
Senator, I will be even briefer than the prepared summary of my opening statement, both of which I would like to submit for the record with your permission.
Senator HARKIN. Certainly.
Dr. SCHAMBRA. Mr. Chairman, I think it is clear that we live in a time of enormous changes and of enormous challenges and opportunities. The countries of central and Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union have opened up and our scientists have responded. We have much to give and much to learn in the exchanges which are taking place and growing day by day aided by our Ěastern European initiative which the Congress has so strongly supported. I would be pleased to tell you more about what we are doing under that initiative later on in response to a question or for the record, if you wish.
Likewise, the importance of collaborating with scientists and institutions in developing countries is becoming increasingly, clear. Not only must these countries deal with old, unconquered diseases such as malaria and cholera—and as you know from the papers right now, cholera is killing hundreds of people in South America even today—but also the poorer regions of the world are often the source of new diseases such as AIDS which threaten the entire world.
AIDS TRAINING PROGRAM
Our international AIDS training programs, now in their third year, constitute one of the most important responses by the U.S. Government to addressing the AIDS problem by helping developing countries participate in research on this disease and eventually participate in the field trials of vaccines now under development in the NIH and elsewhere.
Because of the threat which diseases in developing countries represent not only to the people of these countries, but also to the people of the United States, we began our Latin American initiative last year to expand cooperation between biomedical scientists of this hemisphere. And I would be happy also to tell you more about what we are doing under this initiative.
Finally, we continue our efforts to bring together the scientists from the leading laboratories of the United States and those in Western Europe, Japan, and other developed countries, among the best and brightest in the world. And I might say, Mr. Chairman, that that includes in recent years three bright young scientists from abroad who have gone to institutions in Iowa and four leading Iowan scientists who went to different places around the world, and all of these to work on such problems as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer's disease, among others.
PREPARED STATEMENT Senator, with our 1992 budget request of $19,922,000, I expect that the Fogarty Center will not only continue, but expand its critically important role in the world's No. 1 goal, which is better health for all.
I would be pleased to respond to any questions. [The statement follows:
STATEMENT OF DR. PHILIP SCHAMBRA
The global biomedical research community is being influenced increasingly
by a rapidly changing world--scientifically, politically, and economically.
The emergence of democratic governments in Central and Eastern Europe and
Latin America, the collective decision by the countries of Western Europe to
unify their economies, and the movement by many former socialistic societies
toward a free market have provided new challenges and new opportunities for
scientists and institutions dedicated to biomedical research.
have stimulated a climate of greater openness on the part of scientists
throughout the world and have made possible extraordinary opportunities for
The worldwide pattern of diseases threatening human well-being is
The programs of the Fogarty International Center weave
together tightly to form a comprehensive yet flexible response to these
challenges. During FY 1990, FIC programs increased the number of
collaborating scientists worldwide, and enabled newfound discoveries to be
discussed and studies to be undertaken in laboratories in remote areas of the
Through continuing such combined and collaborative efforts the nature
of these diseases can be understood and their incidence reduced.
It is the mission of the Center to stimulate and enhance this
collaboration at all levels.-scientist-to-scientist, institution-to
institution, and nation-to-nation.
We can count a number of successes toward
this objective this past year,
We have begun new initiatives in international
cooperation that take advantage of the improved political climate in Latin
America and Eastern Europe.
We are working closely with the NINDS to develop
a program of cooperation on international aspects of the "Decade of the
Brain," including joint support for a targeted fellowship progran, as well as
international workshops and conferences.
The Fogarty Center's ability to marshall NIH research expertise in
response to changing world conditions are exemplified by its two regional
initiatives in Latin America and the Caribbean, and Central and Eastern
Europe, which were implemented in FY 1990. To date FIC has provided support
for 18 scientists from 6 NIH institutes to conduct cooperative research
activities in 5 countries in Central and Eastern Europe; and for 20 scientists
fron 10 NIH institutes to conduct cooperative research activities in 10
countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.
FIC has also provided support
for 17 scientists from these regions to conduct research in 7 institutes of
An example is the support provided for a Czechoslovakian scientist
to work in the laboratory of an NIH Nobel Laureate to develop an understanding
of an epidemic of spongiforn encephalopathy in her native country, and its
relationship to similar devastating neurological diseases such as CreuzfeldtJacob (CJD) Disease. This collaboration appears to have led to the discovery
of a genetic defect in CJD victims.
Based on the high level of interest in
these two regional initiatives, it is expected that activities will greatly
expand in Fiscal Years 1991 and 1992.
The Center employs a variety of fellowship and exchange programs that
support scientists at every level of experience to promote the interchange of
new ideas and scientific knowledge. The research of these FIC-supported
scientists spans the breadth of biomedical investigation.
discoveries that have been made in the fields of cancer, neurobiology,
diabetes, and AIDS illustrate this diversity.
Our Senior International Fellowship (SIF) program supports experienced
American scientists to conduct research overseas with foreign colleagues.
Since 1975, the SIF program has funded nearly 700 U.S. scientists; in Fiscal
Years 1991 and 1992, the Center expects to award fellowships to 87 u.s.
o An American scientist at the Imperial College in London has
identified genes, that may play an important role in
carcinogenesis, especially in a certain subgroup of susceptible
people. Through an analysis of genetic mechanisms which control
chromosome division, he identified genes responsible for
laportant in developing new strategies for prevention or
treatment in susceptible persons.
o An American scientist at the Institute for Cancer Research in
London has studied a particular oncogene associated with the
malignant transformation of normal cells.
He found that this
oncogene alters the structure of regulatory proteins which
control normal cell division. By identifying such individual
steps in carcinogenesis, more specific and effective therapies
can be developed.
Since 1958, FIC's International Research Fellowships (IRF) have been
awarded to more than 2,700 scientists from over 50 developed and developing
In Fiscal Years 1991 and 1992, FIC plans to fund 190 new IRF
awards to applicants to conduct research in laboratories in more than 20
In addition, during this same period, FIC expects to fund second year
awards for 108 IRFs who began their fellowships in Fiscal Years 1990 and 1991.
Research funded through this program is finding solutions to problems that
o Two foreign scientists are working on the cause of Alzheimer's
disease, an increasingly important public health problem due to
the increase in life expectancy of the world's population.
of the characteristic pathological changes in the brain of a
0 A Hungarian scientist at the Joslin Diabetes Center of Harvard
University has conducted studies on human cell receptors for
These receptors are the passage ways through which
insulin gains entry into the cell.
It is within the cell that
insulin has an influence on the metabolism of sugars.
reason this scientist is seeking ways to hasten the entry of
insulin by modifying the insulin receptors-to "widen the
passage ways", so to speak.
This sort of research may open up
the prospect of new opportunities for the treatment of diabetes.
Much is expected of FIC's Scholars-in-Residence who represent the best
the world has to offer in biomedical research.
Eight to ten Scholars work at
the NIH at any one time.
A Norwegian Scholar is internationally known for his
pioneering research on fatty acid metabolism and the role of lipids in the
pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease.
As a Fogarty Scholar he plans studies