Sussex County Delaware

Biden Introduces
Autoimmune Bill

From Sen. Biden's Office ...

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.) introduced a bill that would foster an organized and comprehensive approach to research on autoimmune diseases at the National Institute of Health on Tuesday, Nov. 9, 1999.

The NIH Office of Autoimmune Diseases Act of 1999 will create a new office at the NIH that would serve as a central focus for coordinating studies of autoimmune diseases among the separate government organizations that sponsor research on autoimmunity.

Autoimmune diseases are illnesses in which the body's immune system, which normally repels foreign substances from entering the body, instead starts to attack the body's own tissues. Sen. Biden noted that some of the diseases that include autoimmune characteristics are lupus, diabetes and multiple sclerosis.

"These diseases all have one thing in common -- abnormalities of the immune system that lead to an autoimmune process in which the body actually attacks itself," said Sen. Biden. "We need to make sure researchers working on one autoimmune disease are intimately aware of the advances being made on other autoimmune diseases. This new NIH office is designed to foster that exchange."

A companion bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman Henry Waxman (D-Cal.).

"Medical history shows us that exchanging information across scientific disciplines can often produce great medical breakthroughs," said Sen. Biden. "This bill will promote the cooperation and coordination across scientific disciplines for all those working on the broad spectrum of autoimmune disease that can eventually save lives."

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