Kelly-Sponsored STAR Act Signed into Law

Jun 6, 2018

Bipartisan bill to fight & treat childhood cancer largest in history

Rep. Kelly attended Oval Office signing ceremony

WASHINGTON — The co-chairs of the Congressional Childhood Cancer Caucus – U.S. Representatives Mike Kelly (R-PA), Michael McCaul (R-TX), Jackie Speier (D-CA), and G. K. Butterfield (D-NC) – issued the following statements today after their bipartisan bill, the Childhood Cancer STAR (Survivorship, Treatment, Access, and Research) Act (H.R. 820, S. 292), was signed into law by President Donald J. Trump yesterday evening. 

Rep. Kelly:

“The enactment of the most comprehensive anti-cancer bill ever passed is a triumph for all Americans. It was a true honor to be in the Oval Office yesterday evening as President Trump signed this historic bill into law. I firmly believe that the day is drawing nearer when no child ever has to hear the words ‘You have cancer’ again. With tools like the STAR Act, the fight to end pediatric cancer forever can and will be won!”

Rep. Butterfield:

“No parent should have to lose a child to cancer. Sadly, childhood cancer remains a leading cause of death in American children. With this legislation, we are taking concrete steps to battle this disease. I am proud we were able to work across the aisle to see this important legislation to the finish line. This bill will ultimately save the lives of young patients in North Carolina and across the country.”

Rep. McCaul:

"Yesterday is a historic day – the most comprehensive childhood cancer bill is now law. By elevating the fight against childhood cancer at the National Institute of Health, and giving them more tools to be more effective in this fight, we will find the best solutions and care for our children. None of this would have been possible without all of the advocates and survivors who continue to share their stories and motivate Members to act.”

Rep. Speier:

"Yesterday, Congress and the President joined forces to say ‘Enough is Enough’ when it comes to the devastating impacts of childhood cancer. I’m grateful for the hard work and dedication of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and in the Childhood Cancer Caucus. However, the credit really belongs with the childhood cancer community who never faltered in the fight to pass the most comprehensive childhood cancer bill in the history of Congress. On behalf of every child, parent, and family affected by this deadly scourge, thank you.”

NOTE: The Childhood Cancer STAR Act will advance childhood cancer research and child-focused cancer treatments for the nearly 16,000 children diagnosed with cancer in the United States every year, while also improving 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 and improve the quality of life for survivors by funding models of long-term care to promote collaboration among providers and to help monitor the progress of survivors as they age.

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.

BACKGROUND: The Childhood Cancer STAR Act was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Reps. Kelly, Butterfield, McCaul, and Speier in February 2017. The legislation earned 371 co-sponsors in the House and 55 in the U.S. Senate.