Congressman Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) spoke on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives last night in strong support of legislation to advance vital health research. The two bipartisan bills -- the Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act of 2012 (H.R. 733) and the National Pediatric Research Network Act of 2012 (H.R. 6163) -- passed Upton's Energy and Commerce Committee last week by voice vote and did the same yesterday before the full House. Upton is hopeful that the Senate will act quickly to pass both bills to ensure that they reach the President's desk in the coming days.
"The breakthrough advancements made in this research at the national level are so important to so many families on the personal level," said Upton. "For someone diagnosed with a hard-to-treat cancer or a parent whose child suffers from an untreatable genetic disease, hope can be hard to come by. But by giving these often-fatal conditions the attention they rightfully deserve, we offer patients and their families a little more hope."
H.R. 733 supports research of cancers with low survival rates -- such as pancreatic, liver, and esophageal cancers -- by directing the National Cancer Institute to establish a scientific framework to advance diagnosis and treatment. With their unique molecular structure, these cancers spread under the radar of traditional diagnostic tools. When they are eventually diagnosed, the damage is substantial, the treatments are ineffective, and the prognosis is poor. The Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act is an important step in working toward breakthrough advances in cancer research.
H.R. 6163 seeks to further research of rare and genetic diseases in infants and children. The legislation allows the National Institutes of Health to fund pediatric research consortium that are formed from cooperating institutions to promote greater research efficiency and collaboration.
Upton has long been a leading proponent of efforts to advance lifesaving biomedical research. As Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Upton championed the successful reauthorization of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) user fee programs for prescription drugs and medical devices -- helping U.S. manufactures better compete and bring their life-saving products to patients faster. The FDA user fee reauthorization also included provisions to support generic drugs and biosimilars, prevent drug shortages, and promote treatment options for children with rare diseases.