Van Hollen and colleagues seek to reauthorize bipartisan STAR law to fight childhood cancer

May 09, 2022

Van Hollen joins efforts to advance childhood cancer research, improve efforts to identify and track the incidence of childhood cancer, and improve the quality of life for childhood cancer survivors

In an effort to help the thousands of children who undergo cancer treatment each year, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) joined Senators Jack Reed (DR.I.), Shelley Moore Capito (RW.Va.) and Lisa Murkowski. (R-Alaska) in introducing the Childhood Cancer Survival, Treatment, Access, and Research (STAR) Reauthorization Act. This bipartisan legislation would reauthorize the Childhood Cancer STAR Act, the most comprehensive childhood cancer bill ever passed by Congress. This legislation was originally introduced in the House by then-Congressman Van Hollen – it was later passed in 2018.

The STAR Act helps advance pediatric cancer research and child-focused cancer treatments, while improving childhood cancer surveillance and providing resources to survivors and those affected by childhood cancer. Since its enactment, the STAR Act has provided more than $120 million to fund promising childhood cancer research and help patients and families battling cancer.

“Far too many families in Maryland and across the country face the nightmare of a child with cancer – and while their stories are all different, all of these mothers, fathers and children are looking for hope,” mentioned Senator Van Hollen, who introduced the Childhood Cancer STAR Act while in the House of Representatives. “That’s why we fought to pass the first STAR Childhood Cancer Act, and why we’re working to invest in even more research and better treatments. Maryland is proud to be home to both the NIH and NCI, and this investment will help them save lives.

“Recreating the STAR Act would mean more help for children battling cancer. It will target federal research to ensure the medical community is better equipped to diagnose and treat childhood cancers and help young patients and their families The renewal of the STAR Act will bring us closer to the goal of one day curing cancers in children, adolescents and young adults,” mentioned Senator Reed. “The Childhood Cancer STAR Act will support cancer research and provide needed help to children with cancer and their families. He will develop new strategies to help survivors overcome late health effects, such as secondary cancers.

“I was incredibly proud to be part of the passage of the STAR Act in 2018, which has made a significant difference in the lives of children with cancer, us as well as childhood cancer survivors and their families. Since then, The legislation has created unprecedented opportunities and funding for childhood cancer research, allowed us to better understand and track disease incidence, and improved the quality of life for childhood cancer survivors. these opportunities to continue and bring us closer to a world without childhood cancer,” Senator Capito said.

“Cancer is an unimaginable and heartbreaking experience for anyone, especially for children diagnosed and the caregivers who support them on their treatment journey. The STAR Act reauthorization takes a multi-faceted approach to fighting childhood cancer by boosting research efforts, strengthening data collection and improving the quality of life for all brave children who have survived this terrible disease,” mentioned Senator Murkowski. “I am proud to help introduce a comprehensive childhood cancer bill with the goal of helping create a world for future generations where the phrase ‘you have cancer’ does not exist.”

There are over a hundred different subtypes of childhood cancers. According to the Cause of Cancer in Children.

Childhood cancer research has advanced in recent years, but after accidents, cancer remains the second leading cause of death in children aged 1 to 14, according to the American Cancer Society. Health experts estimate that nearly 10,500 children under the age of 15 in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer in 2022.

As a longtime champion of solutions to fight childhood cancer, last spring the senator met with President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and a bipartisan group of congressional lawmakers to discuss the future of the fight against cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and other diseases in the United States. States. The senator then joined President Biden to turn the Cancer Moonshot back on and establish a new agency, the Advanced Research Projects for Health Agency, or ARPA-H, to better prevent, detect and diagnose cancer to save lives.

U.S. Representatives Michael McCaul (R-Texas), Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), GK Butterfield (DN.C.), and Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) introduce complementary legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives .

Summary: The Childhood Cancer Survival, Treatment, Access and Research Act 2022:

  • Expanding Childhood Cancer Research Opportunities: Due to the relatively small population of children with cancer and the geographic distance between these children, childhood cancer research can be challenging. As such, the Childhood Cancer STAR Act reauthorizes and expands existing efforts at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to collect biological specimens for childhood cancer patients enrolled in NCI-sponsored clinical trials to collect and to maintain relevant clinical, biological and demographic information on all children. , adolescents and young adults with cancer.
  • Improving Childhood Cancer Surveillance: Building on previous efforts, this bill authorizes grants to state cancer registries to identify and track the incidence of cancers in children, adolescents and young adults. This funding will be used to identify and train reporters of childhood cancer cases, secure the infrastructure to ensure early reporting and capture of childhood cancer incidences, and support the collection of cases into a national childhood cancer registry.
  • Help improve quality of life opportunities for childhood cancer survivors: Unfortunately, even after beating cancer, up to two-thirds of survivors suffer from the late effects of their disease or treatment, including secondary cancers and organ damage. This legislation will strengthen research into the late effects of childhood cancers, improve collaboration among providers so doctors are better able to care for this population as they age, and establish a new pilot program to begin exploring models innovative care for childhood cancer survivors. .
  • Provide pediatric expertise at the National Institutes of Health (NIH): Requires inclusion of at least one pediatric oncology expert on the National Cancer Advisory Board and would improve child health reporting requirements to include pediatric cancer.