July 12, 2017

Van Hollen, Bennet, Rubio, Gardner Applaud House Passage of RACE for Children Act

U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Cory Gardner (R-CO) today applauded the passage in the U.S. House of Representatives of the RACE for Children Act as part of the FDA User Fees reauthorization bill.

In February, Senators Van Hollen, Bennet, Rubio, and Gardner, along with Representatives Michael T. McCaul (R-TX), G. K. Butterfield (D-NC), Sean Duffy (R-WI), and Yvette Clarke (D-NY), introduced the Research to Accelerate Cures and Equity (RACE) for Children Act to support the development of innovative and promising cancer drugs for children.

"No childhood should be interrupted by a struggle for survival, but cancer tragically puts far too many kids in Maryland and across the country in a battle for their lives,"Van Hollen said. "Researchers at institutions like the National Institutes of Health have made important progress on cancer research, and our laws need to reflect this. House passage of this legislation brings us an important step closer to updating statutes around drug development to reflect recent advancements to research, which will help save children and their families from the misery of this horrific disease."

"Today's passage of the RACE for Children Act in the House is a significant step for children around the country who deserve lifesaving treatments," Bennet said. "We should be able to tell parents with kids who are battling cancer that we're doing everything we can to develop breakthrough drugs to treat their children. Today's House vote brings us closer to that goal. We are thankful to Chairman Lamar Alexander for his leadership in supporting this legislation. And we look forward to the User Fees bill coming before the Senate."

"Today's passage of the RACE for Children Act in the House is great news," Rubio said. "We are one step closer to developing innovative and promising cancer drugs for children across the country who desperately need them. I urge my colleagues to support this bill when it comes before the Senate. It is crucial this legislation becomes law so that children with cancer have hope for a better future."

"Today, the House of Representatives passed the RACE for Children Act, which has the potential to increase access of life-saving cancer treatment and treatment for other serious illnesses for children by expanding pediatric studies," Gardner said. "This bipartisan, commonsense legislation paves the way for scientific breakthroughs and has the potential to not only mitigate suffering for pediatric cancer patients, but also save lives. I'm hopeful the Senate quickly follows suit and passes this important legislation that will help treat children suffering from a life-threatening illness."

The bipartisan RACE for Children Act, first introduced in the 114th Congress, would update the Pediatric Research Equity Act (PREA) to reflect the latest advances in cancer drugs. Congress enacted PREA in 2003 to address the scarcity of information about how to treat children with drugs developed and approved for adults. Although PREA has resulted in new information on how to treat children for a multitude of drugs over the years, there are still limited pediatric studies for cancer drugs. This bill would update PREA by ensuring that the most innovative molecular-targeted drugs for cancer are also studied for children. The bill also directs the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to work with manufacturers to speed up studies for drugs that treat serious or life-threatening diseases in children.

Numerous pediatric oncology groups support the RACE for Children Act, including St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, St. Baldrick's Foundation, Kids v. Cancer, Moffitt Cancer Center, Nemours Children's Health System, Arnold Palmer Hospital, the Children's Hospital Colorado, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Children's Medical Center of Dallas, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Duke University Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, NYU Langone Medical Center, Texas Children's Hospital, the Alliance for Childhood Cancer, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.