RACE for Children Act will give children with cancer access to the most promising treatments. This might sound like just a small, first step, but it actually reflects a level of buy-in and support that makes it an important milestone toward passage.
Kids v Cancer thanks Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) along with Representatives Michel McCaul (R-TX-10), G.K. Butterfield (D-NC-01), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD-08), and Sean Duffy (R-WY,07) as they introduce the RACE for Children Act (H.R. 5858, S. 3239) to support the development of promising cancer drugs for children.
This might sound like just a small, first step, but it actually reflects a level of buy-in and support that makes it an important milestone toward passage.
Pediatric cancer is the number one disease killer of children. However, kids with cancer cannot get access to the most promising, novel unapproved drugs.
The bipartisan, bicameral bill, the RACE for Children Act, would enable children with cancer to have access to clinical trials to the most promising cancer drugs with molecular targets.
Unlike almost all Congressional bills, the RACE for Children is not a new program: it is merely an update of the Pediatric Research Equity Act (PREA) so that the law catches up with the science.
PREA requires companies developing drugs for adults to also develop them for children. However, contrary to Congressional intent, PREA has never applied to cancer because children’s cancers occur in different organs than do adult cancers. But now that cancer drug development is by molecular target, the RACE for Children Act proposes that PREA apply by molecular target as well. In addition, the RACE for Children Act ends the current exemption from PREA obligations for drugs of cancers that occur in fewer than 200,000 patients in the U.S.
Nancy Goodman, Founder and Executive Director of Kids v Cancer, noted, “The RACE for Children Act is a critical step forward in bringing better cancer treatments to children. It was never the intent for PREA to exclude cancer drugs. The RACE for Children Act remedies this loophole so that the law matches the science.
“When my 10 year old son, Jacob, was in treatment for pediatric brain cancer, I was amazed to learn that although there were many exciting brain cancer drug trials, these drugs were not available to children. Instead, Jacob received drugs that were 40 years old. They were ineffective.”
“Researchers in Colorado and throughout the country are making dramatic advances in the fight to treat and cure cancer. But there has been a lag in the amount of research devoted to pediatric cancers,” Bennet said. “This bill will help use what has been learned from adult cancer research to help treat kids with cancer. It’s a simple update to our laws that has the potential to help save thousands of kids.”
“Childhood cancer touches too many families in Florida, including my own, but modern technology and medical advancements have me more optimistic than ever that cancer as we know it can be defeated in our lifetime. It is important to focus on helping more children overcome cancer in the 21st century, and this legislation I am sponsoring will help,” said Rubio. “I’m proud to introduce the RACE for Children Act to encourage more research into more treatment options so children fighting cancer across our nation will have better chance to beat this disease. I’m especially proud to introduce this bill on behalf of the many advocates, moms, dads and children who have tirelessly fought to get more attention, funding and resources for the fight against pediatric cancer. I look forward to continuing my work with them and other stakeholders to make this important legislation the law of the land.”
“We’ve made great strides in combating childhood cancer, but unfortunately, the laws governing childhood cancer research are misaligned with the current science of cancer drug development,” said McCaul. “The RACE for Children Act will modernize the law to provide for pediatric studies on the most promising and innovative treatments. I will continue to work with my colleagues and the advocacy community to find ways to give hope to the nearly 15,000 children and adolescents diagnosed with cancer each year.”
“Pediatric cancer remains the number one cause of disease-related death for children in the United States, surpassing deaths from asthma, diabetes, congenital anomalies, cystic fibrosis, and pediatric AIDS combined. While the cause of childhood cancer remains unknown, advancement in modern technology has allowed us to increase survival rates” said Butterfield. “I am proud to join my colleagues in the introduction of the RACE for Children Act, which invests in advanced pediatric cancer treatment that will make a tremendous difference in the lives of families in North Carolina and across the country.”
“We can defeat childhood cancer, and the RACE for Children Act will help us get there,” said Duffy. “Our children deserve twenty-first century laws that relfect the latest research and development in our ongoing battle against cancer.”
“Childhood cancer remains the leading cause of death in American children, and the lack of available treatments is a tragedy,” said Chris Van Hollen. “I’m proud to join with my colleagues in introducing the RACE for Children Act, which will help advance research into lifesaving cures. We must continue to work together to combat this deadly disease and to promote the development of new treatments for the nearly 16,000 children who are diagnosed with cancer every year in America.”
The bill is supported by the Coalition for Pediatric Medical Research, Children’s Hospital Colorado, Dana-Faber Cancer Institute, Duke University Medical Center, Georgia Regents Health System, Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Nemours Children’s Health System, NYU Langone Medical Center, Rady Children’s Hospital – San Diego, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Texas Children’s Hospital, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and more than 100 pediatric cancer advocacy organizations.
Kids v Cancer is a 501(c)(3) organization focused on changing the landscape of pediatric cancer research so that cures for children come at least as soon as cures for adults. Learn more at www.kidsvcancer.org.