U.S. House of Representatives Approves 21st Century Cures Act, Important Cancer Provisions Included in Final Bill

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December 1, 2016 - Chicago, Illinois

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U.S. House of Representatives Approves 21st Century Cures Act, Important Cancer Provisions

The U.S. House of Representatives yesterday took an important step in approving the bipartisan “21st Century Cures Act,” sending the measure to the U.S. Senate for consideration next week. The Senate is expected to approve the final bill, and the President is expected to sign it into law.

The American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA), the first and only national patient advocacy organization committed to brain tumors, applauded the inclusion of new investments for cancer research, and important provisions that will help to accelerate the development of new cancer treatments.

The bill provides a total of $1.8 billion over a seven year period for the Vice President’s Cancer Moonshot Initiative, of which $300 million would be provided in the current fiscal year. The bill also provides $1.46 billion for the Precision Medicine Initiative and $1.51 billion for the BRAIN initiative over seven years. These new investments will be funded from a new trust fund, but Congress will have to appropriate funding on an annual basis for these initiatives.

“ABTA is pleased to see that Congress has laid the groundwork for these new investments,” said ABTA President and CEO Elizabeth Wilson. “However, our work is far from done. ABTA will be at the forefront of advocacy efforts to ensure that Congress does not renege on its promise to the cancer community, and fully appropriates every dollar designated by this bill for the Moonshot and other important research activities.”

The 21st Century Cures Act includes other provisions designed to advance research into and accelerate new therapeutics for cancer, including:

Reauthorizing the “Creating Hope Act”:  Reauthorizes this important statute and extends through December 2, 2020, the Rare Pediatric Disease Priority Review Voucher Program.  This program is a market incentive for the development of drugs for rare pediatric diseases – including rare cancers – through the establishment of a “priority review voucher,” which may help important promising pediatric cancer drugs or biologics get to market many months earlier, creating significant value.

Andrea Sloane CURE Act:  Includes provisions of this bill which makes changes to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) "expanded access"—sometimes called "compassionate use"—policies in the hopes of making it easier for terminally ill patients to access potentially life-saving drugs. The bill requires that pharmaceutical companies have publicly accessible compassionate use policies for drugs treating serious or life-threatening conditions.
 
Regenerative Medicine:  A total of $30 million for fiscal 2017 through 2020 for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to award grants for clinical research to further the field of regenerative medicine, which has shown promise for brain cancer treatment. Grants would be contingent upon the recipient making available non-federal contributions toward the costs of such research.

FDA Innovation Account:  A total of $500 million for this new account, which is intended to move drugs and medical devices to patients more quickly, while maintaining the same standard for safety and effectiveness.

For more information, visit www.abta.org or call 800-886-ABTA (2282).

About the American Brain Tumor Association
Founded in 1973, the American Brain Tumor Association was the first and is the only national patient advocacy organization committed to funding brain tumor research and providing support and education programs for people of all tumor types and all ages.

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Media Contact:
Phung Tran
(773) 577-8792
ptran@abta.org