Today, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee reported out U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse's Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act of 2012, a bill that will support focused research efforts on cancers with 5-year relative survival rates below fifty percent.
Recalcitrant cancers, like those that develop in the pancreas, lung, liver, and ovaries, are difficult to detect and substantialprogress has not been made toward their diagnosis and treatment. Under the Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act of 2012, the Director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) will convene working groups of federal and non-federal representatives, each focused on a specific recalcitrant cancer, to assist in developing 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.
"This bill will help the National Cancer Institute to collaborate with researchers and advocates in the pursuit of promising new research to advance the treatment of these cancers, and the search for a cure," said Whitehouse. "I've met with too many Rhode Islanders who have lost a loved one to these deadly cancers. On their behalf, I am proud to sponsor this legislation, and I urge the Senate to move swiftly to get it passed."
Senator Whitehouse introduced similar legislation, thePancreatic Cancer Research and Education Act, during the 111th and 112th Congresses. That bill would require the NIH to develop andsustain a coordinated national strategy to address pancreatic cancer. The bill that was reported today builds upon Senator Whitehouse's original legislation to cover other recalcitrant cancers, and includes key improvements recommended by medical experts and patient advocacy groups.