Reed Introduces Bipartisan STAR Act to Combat Childhood Cancer


WASHINGTON, DC – In an effort to help thousands of children who undergo cancer
treatment each year, U.S. Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)
today introduced the Childhood Cancer Survivorship, Treatment, Access, and Research
(STAR) Act of 2017. Reed and Capito were joined in introducing the bill by Senators
Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA). This bipartisan legislation will
advance pediatric cancer research and child-focused cancer treatments, while also
improving childhood cancer surveillance and providing resources for survivors and
those impacted by childhood cancer.

«With far too many children’s lives tragically cut short by cancer, it’s critical
that we do all we can to help the brave young people who are fighting these
battles,» said Senator Reed. «The Childhood Cancer STAR Act will bring needed
assistance to children with cancer and their families by expanding opportunities for
research on childhood cancer and providing new strategies to help survivors overcome
late health effects, such as secondary cancers. It is my hope that these efforts
will lead to life-saving treatments for children and bring us closer to our ultimate
goal of ending pediatric cancer once and for all.»

«We must continue making advancements that can help save the lives of those battling
childhood cancers. The Childhood Cancer STAR Act will contribute to new
developments in research and treatment, and has the potential to positively impact
tens of thousands of lives. I’m proud to reintroduce this very important
legislation for patients and families in West Virginia and across the country,» said
Senator Capito.

«There are unique barriers to studying childhood cancer that are slowing and
preventing the next big breakthrough in treatment,» said Senator Van Hollen. «We
need a strategy to give every child with cancer the hope of a long and healthy life,
and the STAR Act is a bipartisan approach to delivering that hope. By taking action
to better study this disease and improve the quality of life for survivors, this
bill will ultimately save lives and get us closer to the day that no child has to
face the diagnosis of cancer.»

Childhood cancer research has progressed in recent years, but cancer is still the
leading cause of death by disease past infancy among children in the United States,
according to NIH’s National Cancer Institute (NCI). NCI estimates that nationwide,
10,380 children and adolescents up to 14 years of age were diagnosed with cancer
within the last year and 1,250 will die of the disease.

The Childhood Cancer STAR Act builds on Senator Reed’s Conquer Childhood Cancer Act,
which was signed into law in 2008 to help increase support for pediatric cancer
research and ensure that more children have access to lifesaving cancer treatment.

U.S. Representatives Michael McCaul (R-TX), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Mike Kelly (R-PA),
and G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) are introducing the legislation in the U.S. House of

Summary: The Childhood Cancer Survivorship, Treatment, Access, and Research (STAR)
Act of 2017

The Childhood Cancer Survivorship, Treatment, Access, and Research (STAR) Act would
expand opportunities for childhood cancer research, improve efforts to identify and
track childhood cancer incidences, and enhance the quality of life for childhood
cancer survivors.

Expanding Opportunities for Childhood Cancer Research: Due to the relatively small
population of children with cancer and the geographic distance between these
children, researching childhood cancer can be challenging. As such, the Childhood
Cancer STAR Act would authorize the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to expand
existing efforts to collect biospecimens for childhood cancer patients enrolled in
NCI-sponsored clinical trials to collect and maintain relevant clinical, biological,
and demographic information on all children, adolescents, and young adults with

Improving Childhood Cancer Surveillance: Building upon previous efforts, this bill
would authorize grants to state cancer registries to identify and track incidences
of child, adolescent, and young adult cancer. This funding would be used to
identify and train reporters of childhood cancer cases, secure infrastructure to
ensure early reporting and capture of child cancer incidences, and support the
collection of cases into a national childhood cancer registry.

Improving Quality of Life for Childhood Cancer Survivors: Unfortunately, even after
beating cancer, as many as two-thirds of survivors suffer from late effects of their
disease or treatment, including secondary cancers and organ damage. This legislation
would enhance research on the late effects of childhood cancers, including a study
on insurance coverage and payment of care for childhood cancer survivors; improve
collaboration among providers so that doctors are better able to care for this
population as they age; and establish a new pilot program to begin to explore
innovative models of care for childhood cancer survivors.

Ensuring Pediatric Expertise at the National Institutes of Health (NIH): The
Childhood Cancer STAR Act would require the inclusion of at least one pediatric
oncologist on the National Cancer Advisory Board and would improve childhood health
reporting requirements to include pediatric cancer.