Sunday, September 23, 2012

Senate Panel Approves Cancer Bill

The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee reported out on Senator Sheldon Whitehouse’s “Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act of 2012”, a bill to support focused research efforts on cancers with five year relative survival rates below fifty percent.

Recalcitrant cancers are those that develop in the pancreas, lung, liver, and ovaries and are difficult to detect and where substantial progress has not been made toward their diagnosis and treatment. Under the Act, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) will convene working groups of federal and non-federal representatives, each focusing on a specific recalcitrant cancer to develop scientific frameworks.

These frameworks will identify promising scientific advances, assess the sufficiency of qualified researchers working in relevant specialties, outline a plan to coordinate research, and include recommendations for actions to advance research, including appropriate benchmarks for measuring progress.

The Senator has introduced similar legislation such as the “Pancreatic Cancer Research and Education Act” during previous Congressional sessions. That bill would require NIH to develop and sustain a coordinated national strategy to address pancreatic cancer.

The bill recently introduced builds upon the Senator’s original legislation to cover other recalcitrant cancers, and includes key improvements recommended by medical experts and patient advocacy groups.