Street Signs

NBC's Bob Wright And Suzanne Wright On Autism

Today Show

In a post not too long ago--we told you that The U.S. House of Representatives earmarked nearly $1 billion for autism research. The money is spread out over 5 years and goes toward the search for more effective treatments--and maybe even a cure. NBC Universal Chairman and CEO Bob Wright and his wife Suzanne Wright became part of the fight after their grandson was diagnosed with the illness in 2004.

Together they founded Autism Speaks, an organization dedicated to finding a cure for the disease that affects more than 1 million people in the U.S.

On "Street Signs" CNBC’s Erin Burnett spoke with both of them. Suzanne Wright called today an historic moment – "Congress has declared war on autism!"

Autism Funding

Bob Wright explained that this bill lays out a whole framework for dealing with autism.  It makes autism a legitimately funded Federal effort – and it brings in the NIH, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Diseases Control – and more.

And he said it empowers Congress to oversee the spending of the money and that should help make real progress.

Mrs. Wright added that more than anything today – families have been provided with hope. She said that when her grandson was diagnosed--there was no one to speak up for them. 

Led by Sen. Bill Frist (R) and Sen. Harry Reid (D), Bob Wright explained that the bill received strong bipartisan support. 

Wright also said that this is the most prevalent childhood developmental disorder in the nation – it effects about 1 in 100 boys and 1 in 400 girls.

As we said--Bob Wright is the Chairman and CEO of NBC Universal, CNBC’s parent company and he is also the Vice Chairman of General Electric.