Bennet Cosponsors Bipartisan Bill to Help End Childhood Cancer

Bill Expands Research, Improves Cancer Surveillance, Helps Identify Barriers to Cancer Drug Development

Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet has cosponsored a bipartisan bill to expand childhood cancer research, improve cancer surveillance, and identify barriers to childhood cancer drug development.

The Caroline Pryce Walker Conquer Childhood Cancer Reauthorization Act, named in honor of former Congresswoman Deborah Pryce’s daughter Caroline, would reauthorize and update legislation passed unanimously in 2008 that expires September 30, 2013. It was introduced by Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Deb Fischer (R-NE).

“Children around this country are bravely battling cancer for their lives, but there are far too few solutions,” Bennet said. “This bill will help devote crucial resources toward research and to study how we can create more effective childhood cancer drugs.”

The Caroline Pryce Walker Conquer Childhood Cancer Reauthorization Act will:

  • Expand Opportunities for Childhood Cancer Research:  Currently, children enrolled on National Cancer Institute-sponsored clinical trials have the option to provide specimens for childhood cancer biorepositories.  This bill would expand these efforts so that all children, adolescents, and young adults diagnosed with cancer may be included in childhood cancer biorepositories for the purpose of creating opportunities for peer-reviewed cancer research.
  • Improve Childhood Cancer Surveillance: Building upon efforts of the last five years, this bill would authorize grants for state cancer registries to identify and track incidences of child, adolescent, and young adult cancers. 
  • Identify Barriers to Childhood Cancer Drug Development: While advances in adult oncologic drug development have been made in recent years, very few drugs have been approved to treat children with cancer. The bill would initiate a GAO study to investigate the feasibility of expanding FDA requirements for pediatric studies of adult oncologic drugs and make recommendations for overcoming any research barriers.

During his time in the Senate, Bennet has worked to bring lifesaving drugs and treatments to patients more quickly and safely. Last year, Bennet worked with Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Richard Burr (R-NC) to create a breakthrough designation in the FDA Safety and Innovation Act of 2012 to expedite FDA approval and provide more flexibility for breakthrough drugs or treatments that show dramatic responses early in development, while still ensuring drug safety and efficacy.  Over 20 treatments, including ones for breast cancer and cystic fibrosis, have already received Breakthrough Therapy designations from the FDA this year.