MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif., Jan. 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- President Barack Obama made history in the fight against pancreatic cancer by signing the Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act into law. The legislation, formerly known as the Pancreatic Cancer Research and Education Act, passed the U.S. Congress on December 21 after it was attached to the National Defense Authorization Act.
The landmark legislation requires the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to examine its current research efforts on cancers with very low survival rates and work to develop early detection methods and better treatment options to help improve outcomes for those diagnosed with the most deadly forms of cancer, including pancreatic and lung cancer.
"The adoption of the Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act is a historic victory in the fight against deadly cancers—particularly pancreatic cancer—as it is the first legislation designed specifically with the disease in mind," said Julie Fleshman, president and CEO of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. "On behalf of thousands of pancreatic cancer advocates and patients around the country, we are deeply grateful for the incredible bipartisan support in Congress and to President Obama for signing the bill into law."
"This achievement would not have been possible if not for the leadership of the bill's lead sponsors, Representative Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Representative Leonard Lance (R-NJ) and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). Their hard work, along with the efforts of our incredible network of passionate advocates, gave this bill the momentum it needed to become law. In addition, we applaud our partners at the Lung Cancer Alliance for their efforts in passing this important legislation."
"Above all, this legislation provides hope for pancreatic cancer patients and their loved ones. Today we celebrate this important step, but we do so while honoring the memory of so many people whose lives were cut short by pancreatic cancer."
The Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act requires the NCI to establish scientific frameworks for pancreatic cancer and other deadly cancers. These frameworks will help to identify scientific advancements, evaluate the sufficiency of researchers, and outline a plan for ongoing research. The bill is a balanced approach that complements current research at the NCI and includes recommendations to advance research and measure progress through appropriate benchmarks. The NCI will be encouraged to rigorously evaluate existing research efforts and examine how well they are supporting progress in the prevention, detection, diagnosis, and treatment of these deadly cancers.
Currently, pancreatic cancer does not have an early detection method or effective treatment options, which is why President Obama's signing this into law means so much to the pancreatic cancer community. This legislation ultimately provides an opportunity to change the future for pancreatic cancer patients.
Nearly 44,000 Americans will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year and more than 37,000 will die from the deadly disease. Pancreatic cancer currently has the lowest five-year relative survival rate of all major cancer killers, at just six percent. Because of the lack of early detection methods and effective treatment options, pancreatic cancer is the only one of the current top-five cancer killers for which both the incidence and death rates are increasing in recent years. And a recent report indicates that pancreatic cancer is anticipated to move from the fourth to the second leading cancer killer in the U.S. by 2020 and possibly as early as 2015.
"The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network applauds the Lung Cancer Alliance for their efforts in advocating for the passage of the Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act. We look forward to partnering with the organization as we work to defeat our nation's deadliest cancers," added Fleshman.
To learn more about the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network's advocacy efforts, visit www.knowitfightitendit.org.
About the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network
The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network is the national organization creating hope in a comprehensive way through research, patient support, community outreach and advocacy for a cure. The organization is leading the way to increase the survival rate for people diagnosed with this devastating disease through a bold initiative — The Vision of Progress: Double the Pancreatic Cancer Survival Rate by 2020. Together, we can know, fight and end pancreatic cancer by intensifying our efforts to heighten awareness, raise funds for comprehensive private research, and advocate for dedicated federal research to advance early diagnostics, better treatments and increase chances of survival. The organization also leads the Deadly Cancer Coalition, organizations representing the nation's deadliest cancers defined as those cancers with a five-year survival rate of less than fifty percent. Pancreatic cancer is the deadliest with a five-year survival rate of just six percent.
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SOURCE Pancreatic Cancer Action Network