Higgins Announces Approval of Childhood Cancer Survivorship, Treatment, Access, and Research Act
This week the House of Representatives approved H.R. 3381, the Childhood Cancer Survivorship, Treatment, Access, and Research (STAR) Act. The legislation, cosponsored by Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26), had broad bipartisan support.
“Thankfully great scientific strides have led to better outcomes for pediatric cancer patients, but with an increase in survivorship of our littlest patients comes a whole new set of questions about how to keep those diagnosed healthy and cancer free well into adulthood,” said Congressman Higgins. “This bill will help us to better understand the distinct needs of children, families and medical professionals dealing with cancer separate from that of adults toward the goal of lifelong comprehensive care for our young brave survivors.”
The bill authorizes $30 million annually from 2017 through 2021 toward pediatric cancer fighting initiatives including:
- Creation of a child cancer repository of biospecimens and clinical and demographic data to improve our understanding of the cause of cancers, their recurrences and the effects of existing treatments
- Pilot programs to develop, study or evaluate systems for monitoring and caring for childhood cancer survivors throughout their lifespan
- Inclusion of at least one pediatric oncologist on the National Cancer Advisory Board
- An annual report of NIH funding specifically dedicated to pediatric research
The legislation points out that cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children under the age of 14. 1 in 285 children in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer before their 20th birthday. In 1960 only 4 percent of children with cancer survived more than 5 years, today more than 80 percent survive. The bill will now move to the Senate for consideration and approval.