Advocates press for action on children's cancer legislation

Children's cancer advocates pressed lawmakers to pass several pieces of legislation during a Congressional Childhood Cancer Summit Thursday.

The legislation includes:

• Reauthorization of the Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act and the Pediatric Research Equity Act, which would allow for the creation of incentives for manufacturers to develop drugs to treat children's cancer. Although 12,500 children are diagnosed with cancer every year, that's only 1 percent of the national total, making pediatric drug research largely unprofitable;

• The Create Hope Act, which would provide incentives for biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies to develop drugs for pediatric cancers and other pediatric rare diseases through a priority review voucher program. The bill was introduced by Sens. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio); and

• The Childhood Cancer Survivorship Research and Quality of Life Act, which proposes new research on how to improve follow-up care and create systemic interventions to improve children's quality of life. The bill was introduced by Reps. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) and Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.)

Thursday's summit was convened by Reps. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) and Joe Sestak (D-Pa.), co-chairs of the Congressional Pediatric Cancer Caucus.