U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) announced Tuesday bipartisan legislation introduced in Congress — the Fairness to Kids with Cancer Act — to increase federal investment in pediatric cancer research, so more clinical trials receive investment and more children’s lives are saved.
Cancer is the number one cause of death of children from any disease. According to the CDC, New Jersey has the third highest rate of pediatric cancer in the country, Gottheimer said.
However, only four percent of federal cancer research investment is allocated to pediatric cancer research, Gottheimer said.
Every year about 12 drugs are developed in the United States and approved by the FDA for the treatment of adult cancers. However, since 1978 there have been just 6 drugs, total, developed and approved by the FDA for pediatric cancers, Gottheimer said.
For example, while brain cancer is the leading cause of disease related death in people under the age of 20, there has not been a child-specific drug developed for brain cancer since the 1970s. In fact, some children receive the same treatment that Neil Armstrong’s daughter received in the 1960s, Gottheimer
The Fairness to Kids with Cancer Act will adjust the level of federal investment in pediatric cancer research to match the percentage of American citizens under the age of 18, based on U.S. Census data. According to 2010 Census data, 24 percent of the U.S. population is under the age of 18, meaning the allocation for pediatric cancer research would increase to 24% of the total federal investment, Gottheimer said.
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