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Bipartisan Shaheen-Hassan Bill to Combat Childhood Cancer Signed into Law

WASHINGTON – The bipartisan Childhood Cancer Survivorship, Treatment, Access, and Research (STAR) Act, which Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan cosponsored, was signed into law by President Trump today. The bipartisan bill 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.

“A cancer diagnosis for a child is every parent’s worst nightmare. We can be doing more at the federal level to fight this disease and I’m pleased to see the President sign our bipartisan legislation into law,” said Senator Shaheen. “The Childhood Cancer STAR Act will pave the way for more advanced research, treatment, and resources for children impacted by cancer, and will improve outcomes for families across the country. We worked across the aisle to ensure that this legislation would become law, and I will continue to advocate for federal efforts to support children and families, end childhood cancer and improve the quality of life for childhood cancer survivors.”

“Every year in New Hampshire and across the country, we lose far too many young people to childhood cancers, and it is critical that we continue furthering research about pediatric cancer and child-focused cancer treatments to support our young people and help ensure that they can lead healthy, productive lives,” Senator Hassan said. “The bipartisan STAR Act is critical to those efforts, and I am pleased that President Trump has signed this commonsense bill into law. I will continue working across party lines to ensure that children and families impacted by childhood cancers have the support they need to beat their disease and to build an even stronger, healthier New Hampshire.”

The Childhood Cancer STAR Act was introduced by Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and a companion bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by Representatives Michael McCaul (R-TX), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Mike Kelly (R-PA), and G.K. Butterfield (D-NC).

See more information below on the bipartisan Childhood Cancer STAR Act (S. 292):

The Childhood Cancer Survivorship, Treatment, Access, and Research (STAR) Act will 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 will 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 cancer.

Improving Childhood Cancer Surveillance: Building upon previous efforts, this bill will authorize grants to state cancer registries to identify and track incidences of child, adolescent, and young adult cancer. This funding will 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 will 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 will require the inclusion of at least one pediatric oncologist on the National Cancer Advisory Board and will improve childhood health reporting requirements to include pediatric cancer.