March 26, 2018

Bipartisan STAR Act to Combat Childhood Cancer Supported by Senators Shaheen & Hassan Passes the Senate

WASHINGTON – Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) applauded the Senate passage of the bipartisan Childhood Cancer Survivorship, Treatment, Access, and Research (STAR) Act of 2017. The senators are cosponsors of the bipartisan bill, which 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. The bill passed the Senate on Thursday.

“A diagnosis of childhood cancer is any family’s worst fear,” said Senator Shaheen. “Through this bipartisan legislation we are taking concrete steps to expand opportunities for research and to improve quality of life for young patients. I am pleased that we were able to work across the aisle to advance this bill, and I will continue to advocate for federal efforts to defeat childhood cancer.”

“Our young people are our future, and we must do everything that we can to ensure that they have the support they need to lead healthy, productive lives,” Senator Hassan said. “Unfortunately, every year we lose far too many children in New Hampshire and across the country to childhood cancers. By advancing pediatric cancer research and child-focused cancer treatments, while also providing resources to children and their families impacted by childhood cancer, the bipartisan Childhood Cancer STAR Act is critical to strengthening the health and well-being of our young people, our communities, and our entire state.”

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:

The Childhood Cancer Survivorship, Treatment, Access, and Research (STAR) Act of 2017 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 cancer.

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.