NCATS was created on Dec. 23, 2011, by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012, (P.L. 112-74), which amended the Public Health Service (PHS) Act by including authorization language for NCATS. The 21st Century Cures Act (P.L. 114-255), which became law on Dec. 13, 2016, subsequently modified NCATS' authorization language.

The current PHS Act authorization language for NCATS (PDF - 133KB) includes the purpose of NCATS, the phases of clinical trials that may be supported, the NCATS biennial report, and the previously existing NIH programs that were moved to NCATS, such as the Cures Acceleration Network. 

Cures Acceleration Network (CAN)

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 (PDF - 35KB) on May 14, 2010, asking Congress to provide funding for CAN.

On Dec. 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 (PDF - 115KB).
  • Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., NIH director, was the only witness. Read his opening statement (PDF - 159KB).
  • Visit the hearing website, which includes a video of the hearing.

Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pension

April 28, 2015 – Hearing titled “Continuing America’s Leadership: The Future of Medical Innovation for Patients”

  • Christopher P. Austin, M.D., NCATS director, testified along with Roderick I. Pettigrew, Ph.D., M.D., director of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, and two directors from the Food and Drug Administration. Read Austin's opening statement (PDF - 150KB).
  • Visit the hearing website, which includes a video of the hearing.