Congressman Leonard Lance (NJ-07) said important cancer legislation he co-authored with Rep. Anna Eshoo (CA-14) won unanimous approval by the full House of Representatives late Wednesday evening. The measure now awaits action in the United States Senate.
Lance's bipartisan measure, the "Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act of 2012" (H.R. 733), would help the National Cancer Institute's efforts to improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancers with high mortality rates, such as pancreatic cancer.
"Since President Nixon declared the War on Cancer more than forty years ago, the overall five-year survival rate for all cancers has climbed from approximately 50 percent to 67 percent," said Lance. "There are, however, cancers such as pancreatic cancer that still have high mortality rates and have not seen substantial progress in the diagnoses or treatment of the disease. These so-called recalcitrant cancers are among the deadliest diseases and are the very types of cancers that this bill seeks to address."
H.R. 733 would direct the National Cancer Institute to establish a scientific framework that will guide research efforts on recalcitrant cancers by identifying unanswered medical and scientific questions. This framework includes a review of the current educational literature, identification of relevant scientific advances and qualified researchers, a list of initiatives and partnerships that can advance coordination of research and research resources such as patient registries and tissue banks. Information on the implementation of the scientific framework will be included in the NIH Biennial Report.
Congressman Leonard Lance has been one of these leading advocates in Congress in the fight against pancreatic cancer -- currently the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States with a five-year survival rate of only six percent.
New Jersey Pancreatic Cancer Action Network advocates applauded Lance's leadership and his efforts in passing this important legislation.
Edison resident Todd Cohen, a volunteer with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, said, "I lost my dad 10 years ago after a brief battle with the pancreatic cancer. With a five year survival rate of just six percent, it's time to make pancreatic cancer research a priority and this bill is an important step towards increasing the survival of cancers like pancreatic cancer. I applaud Rep. Lance for his leadership and dedication to the fight against this deadly disease."
"This is very exciting news," added Michael Weinstein of Millburn, a six-year pancreatic cancer survivor. "It provides hope to those diagnosed with horrible diseases, like pancreatic cancer, and is the first step in hopefully saving tens of thousands of lives."