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Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act of 2012

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. UPTON. Mr. Speaker, this legislation, H.R. 733, the Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act of 2012, will indeed take important steps to improve outcomes for cancer patients.

For the many Americans who have been diagnosed with a hard-to-treat cancer, hope is not easy to come by. These patients have heard all about the advances in cancer treatments and cures but are left to wonder why there isn't some help for them. Unfortunately, their cancers do not respond to traditional treatments and, as a result, have had very few improvements in prevention, diagnosis, and treatment in decades.

Take, for example, pancreatic cancer. According to the NIH, it is estimated that 44,000 men and women will be diagnosed with this cancer this year, of which 35,000 will die. The 5-year survival rate is less than 6 percent, compared to other cancers with survival rates of over 90 percent.

This bill will guide efforts at the National Cancer Institute in identifying the scientific framework that will outline those unanswered medical and scientific questions that will help to focus research efforts for those deadly cancers. Ensuring the availability of qualified researchers and important resources, such as patient registries, will also move the process forward.

Tonight we work to provide patients and their families a little more hope. This bipartisan legislation is an important step as we continue to see breakthrough advances in cancer research, particularly for those cancers whose survival rates remain low and treatment options are limited.

I want to thank Chairman WAXMAN and his staff, as well as Chairman Harkin and Ranking Member Enzi of the Senate committee, which passed the Senate version of this bill today in committee, for enabling us to be on the verge of really getting this legislation into law, which is one of the reasons why we bypassed the full committee.

We were delighted to pass this legislation last week in subcommittee, and I singled out particularly my friends, Anna Eshoo and Leonard Lance, for their stalwart work on moving this legislation. And I've got to tell you, the many times we met and chatted about this legislation, I was given an update on the number of bipartisan cosponsors from 233 to 240, and now 290-something that are there. It is, indeed, a bipartisan piece of legislation.

One of the reasons why we bypassed the full committee this week in markup--which began, actually, this afternoon and we'll finish tomorrow--is we wanted to get this bill to the floor right away so that we don't even have to wait for a lame duck session to get it signed into law. So I would hope that my Senate colleagues move this quickly.

But I just really want to thank my friends, Anna Eshoo and Leonard Lance, for their great work. The staff that put this together--I'll tell you, in sitting down with the NIH folks 2 weeks ago, we've really expanded. We've broadened this to include more than just pancreatic, how this started.

We have the stakeholders now on board that are excited about this legislation and what it will hold. The private sector out there--and, man, we've sure heard from them over the last year or so--but I know, too, that they are very happy with the passage of this tonight. It's a dream that's come true thanks to you.

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