U.S. Representatives Chris Collins and Brian Higgins announced Friday a new bill that sets aside $6.3 billion for efforts to cure so-called "incurable" diseases. The funding is meant to "accelerate the discovery, development, and delivery of new cures and treatments".
ALS patient advocate Michael Maloney has traveled to Washington D.C. to urge Congress to make a commitment like this in the past. He said this law has him looking forward to the future.
"This disease [ALS] has had little hope. Little hope," he said. "As we look at the many, many causes this cures act will help support, it is critical to give hope."
Maloney said it's a relief to finally see funding toward the treatment and cure of these diseases.
"As we look at many of the diseases--many are simply underfunded," he said. "We can make a difference. If not today, in five years--ten years."
Several Western New York advocacy groups were at the event including the Alzheimer's Association, ALS Association of Upstate New York, Lupus Alliance of Upstate New York, Parkinson Foundation of Western New York, Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy, Roswell Park Cancer Institute and WNY Ovarian Cancer Project.
The legislation also provides new funding for the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration.
The law was passed by Congress and is expected to be signed into law by President Obama on Tuesday.