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Trump’s Budget Cuts Create Opportunities

President Trump’s budget proposal generated headlines and consternation across the nation. It also created opportunities for those facing cutbacks to tell their story and advocate for funding.

One of our clients, LA BioMed, is featured in today’s LA Times’ column by Steve Lopez because of the potential loss of critical funding for its research. The story not only conveys the potential hardships for LA BioMed, it also highlights the important research underway at one of the nation’s leading independent nonprofit research institutes.

So it was a great opportunity for LA BioMed to tell its story about its research and to advocate for more funding for it and all the research endeavors facing serious reductions in funding from the National Institutes of Health, if Trump’s budget cuts are approved. As Lopez noted:

“LA BioMed, (is) a nonprofit research institute that is affiliated with Harbor-UCLA and has been coming up with medical advances for more than 60 years. The list includes breakthroughs in treatment of Tay-Sachs disease, thyroid deficiency in infants, therapies for metabolic disease and for end-stage renal disease, and advances in understanding the link between menopausal hormone therapy and breast cancer.

‘Our budget is probably close to 40% funded by the NIH, and we have 30 to 35 NIH-funded research groups working on 600 projects,’ said David Meyer, president and chief executive of LA BioMed.”

Lopez also described the exciting research that Michael Yeaman, PhD, is conducting at LA BioMed, along with several of his colleagues:

“In 2003, Yeaman and his team — including UCLA’s Dr. Jack Edwards and others — had what he called a Eureka moment while studying the potentially lethal fungus known as Candida, another scary hospital-acquired pathogen. Candida produces a protein that attaches itself to the inside of human blood vessels, and Yeaman’s team discovered that the protein was structurally similar to the protein in MRSA, or methicillin-resistant staph infection.

This led to development of a single vaccine to treat both pathogens, and in the second of two clinical trials, the vaccine was effective on 30% to 40% of the patients infected.”

As Lopez notes, this was the first vaccine ever to address a fungal organism, and led to new information on how to attack Candida in life-threatening cases. As such, Dr. Yeaman noted that: “It’s the first step to something that could be a massive breakthrough.”

In this way, a story about budget cuts also becomes a story about the vital work of LA BioMed, and a great opportunity to tell its story. To learn more, please see the story here.

Photo of Michael Yeaman above by the LA Times.

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