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NCATS was created on December 23, 2011, by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012, (P.L. 112-74), which amended the Public Health Service (PHS) Act to include NCATS. The PHS Act authorization language for NCATS includes the purpose of NCATS, the phases of clinical trials that may be supported, the NCATS annual report, and the existing NIH programs that were moved to NCATS, such as the Cures Acceleration Network. 

Cures Acceleration Network

CAN was established within NIH on March 23, 2010, by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (P.L. 111-148), but it was not appropriated any funds. Several stakeholders wrote a letter to Congress on May 14, 2010, asking Congress to provide funding for CAN.

On December 23, 2011, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012, appropriated $10 million for CAN and moved CAN to NCATS.  

The purpose of CAN is to award grants and contracts to eligible entities to accelerate the development of high-need cures, including through the development of medical products and behavioral therapies.

Congressional Committees

The following committees oversee NIH, including NCATS, and may hold hearings or introduce legislation affecting NIH:

House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health (

  • June 21, 2012 – Hearing titled “The NIH — A Review of Its Reforms, Priorities, and Progress”
    • The purpose of the hearing was to review the implementation of the 2006 NIH Reform Act, the progress of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, and the determination of NIH funding and research priorities. See the background memo.
    • Dr. Collins, Director of NIH, was the only witness. See his opening statement.
    • Hearing website.
    • See archived webcast.

Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pension (

  • No action related to NCATS.