Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) announced approval of the Childhood Cancer Survivorship, Treatment, Access and Research (STAR) Act (S.292). Higgins, a member of the bipartisan Childhood Cancer Caucus, is a cosponsor of the companion bill (H.R. 820) in the House of Representatives.

“Our youngest cancer patients present a unique set of circumstances and deserve a focus centered on the specific needs of children as both cancer warriors and life-long survivors,” said Congressman Brian Higgins.  “This bill represents a good start.” 

The legislation authorizes $30 million annually from 2019 – 2023 for programs and research through the national Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention related directly to childhood cancer.

In addition the Childhood Cancer STAR Act:

  • Requires the National Cancer Advisory board, which reviews and makes recommendations on research awards, to have at least one member who specializes in pediatric oncology
  • Supports research and outcomes addressing the physical and psychological needs of survivors
  • Expands existing efforts utilize cancer databases compiled through clinical trials to allow for greater insight for researchers

According to the National Cancer Institute, in 2017 over 10,000 children under the age of 15 were newly diagnosed with cancer and while significant progress has been made in recent decades to increase survivorship, for children it remains the leading cause of death from disease, responsible for the death of approximately 1,200 annually. 

The Childhood Cancer STAR Act is supported by the Alliance for Childhood Cancer, a coalition comprised of over 20 member organizations including the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Cancer Society, Children’s Brian Tumor Foundation, Children’s Oncology Group and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. 

The bill was adopted by the Senate on March 22.  It will now move to the President’s desk for final authorization. 

Higgins is also co-chair of the House of Representatives Cancer Caucus, co-founder of the National Institutes of Health Caucus and cosponsor of the Accelerating Biomedical Research Act which authorizes an additional $20.4 billion in federal funding to the National Institutes of health for promising research over the next 3 years. 

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