Butterfield backs bill to boost child cancer research

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WASHINGTON — Rep. G.K. Butterfield has joined a bipartisan group of senators and representatives to reintroduce a bill aimed at supporting the development of innovative cancer drugs for children.

The Research to Accelerate Cures and Equity for Children Act, or RACE Act, would update the Pediatric Research Equity Act to reflect the latest advances in cancer drugs, Butterfield said in a joint news release. PREA was enacted by Congress in 2003 to address the scarcity of information about how to treat children with drugs developed for adults, and therefore develop pediatric data during drug development.

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.

“As co-chair of the Childhood Cancer Caucus, I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing the RACE for Children Act,” Butterfield said. “Researchers in North Carolina and across the country are taking promising steps in diagnosing and treating children with cancer.  Still, the law lags behind the current advances in treatment of childhood cancer. This bill will update the law to provide researchers with the tools they need to accelerate the search for innovative, life-saving treatments for childhood cancers.”

Butterfield, a Wilson Democrat representing North Carolina’s 1st Congressional District, introduced the bill Feb. 27 along with Reps. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, Sean Duffy, R-Wisconsin, and Yvette Clarke, D-New York, and Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, Michael Bennet, D-Colorado, Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland, and Cory Gardner, R-Colorado.

The bill is supported by the Duke University Medical Center, the Harvard Medical School, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and more than 100 pediatric cancer advocacy organizations.