Biomedical Research Legislation

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The below list features proposed legislation from the 115th Congress affecting biomedical research policy, such as reauthorization of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and other measures affecting how biomedical research is performed.

Childhood Cancer STAR (Survivorship, Treatment, Access, Research) Act (H.R. 820/S. 292)

  • The bill is in part a consolidation of legislative proposals introduced in past sessions of Congress focused on childhood cancer research and care (including biorepositories and biospecimen research, and survivorship research), as well as childhood cancer surveillance.  An identical bill passed the House in the 114th Congress with broad bipartisan support, but did not receive a vote in the Senate.
  • The bill authorizes NCI to support and expand collection of biospecimens from children, as well as adolescents and young adults (AYAs), diagnosed with cancer in an effort to build upon biorepositories and biospecimen research already underway with NCI support.
  • The bill also authorizes NIH, with guidance from the NCI Director and in coordination with ongoing research activities, to support grants focusing on the cause of health disparities in pediatric cancer survivorship; and focusing on late effects and follow-up care for pediatric cancer survivors.
  • Other provisions specific to NIH and NCI include requiring that at least one member appointed to the National Cancer Advisory Board be knowledgeable in pediatric oncology; establishing specific reporting requirements for NIH in addressing pediatric oncology research within its annual Pediatric Research Initiative Report to Congress; and expressing the sense of Congress that the NCI Director should ensure that all applicable study sections, committees, advisory groups, and panels at NCI should include one or more qualified pediatric oncologists; as appropriate.
  • The bill also authorizes HHS, through the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, to award grants to state cancer registries to expand surveillance infrastructure to track the epidemiology of cancer in children and AYAs.
  • Additional provisions in the bill focus on pediatric cancer survivorship encourage the HHS Secretary to establish pilot programs to evaluate model systems for monitoring and caring for childhood cancer survivors, and carry out a 3-year demonstration project to improve quality and coordination of childhood cancer survivorship care as survivor's transition to adult care. The bill directs the HHS Secretary to establish a task force on long-term follow-up services for pediatric cancer survivors and also requires the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to submit recommendations to Congress regarding barriers to obtaining and paying for childhood cancer survivorship care.
  • H.R. 820 was introduced by Reps. Michael McCaul (R-TX), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Mike Kelly (R-PA), and G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), co-chairs of the Congressional Childhood Cancer Caucus, on 2/2/2017 and was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.  The Senate companion version of this bill, S. 292, was introduced by Sens. Jack Reed (D-RI), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) on 2/2/2017 and was referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.
  • Read the full bill text on Congress.gov.