Bucco/Sweeney Legislation to Fund Pediatric Cancer Research Advances
TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Anthony M. Bucco and Senate President Stephen Sweeney to fund pediatric cancer research in New Jersey has been advanced by the Senate Health Committee.
“As a survivor of pediatric cancer, I know there are few things that can make a child feel so scared or parents so helpless,” said Senator Bucco (R-25). “I am thankful every day that I was one of the lucky ones who survived. With better-funded research, we can improve treatments and survival rates to ensure that luck is no longer a factor in deciding which children with cancer will have an opportunity to grow up and live full lives.”
The bill, S-3724, appropriates $5 million to the New Jersey Pediatric Cancer Fund. The fund will be created through separate legislation, S-1431, which is expected to advance simultaneously.
“The loss of a young life to cancer is heartbreaking, especially to the families,” said Senator Sweeney (D-3). “Medical science has made a great deal of progress in finding ways to screen for, prevent, and treat cancer and New Jersey has some of the top facilities in the country in research and treatment. Continued support for pediatric cancer research is a top priority so that we can continue to make progress to reduce incidents of cancer and to find ways to treat children so they can overcome it and become cancer free.”
If both bills are approved, the newly created fund would be managed by the New Jersey State Commission on Cancer Research. The commission would be responsible for soliciting, evaluating, and approving applications from qualifying research institutions for grants from the fund to conduct research relating to the causes, prevention, education, screening, treatment, and cure of pediatric cancer.
This year, approximately 10,500 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the United States among children from birth to 14 years of age. Sadly, an estimated 1,190 children are expected to die from the disease.
While cancer survival rates for children have improved significantly over the past 50 years, cancer remains the leading cause of death from disease among children.
“On Pediatric Cancer Awareness Day in February, I had the honor of joining with a group of legislators to hear the story of a brave little girl, Grace Eline, who battled and thankfully recovered from a brain tumor,” added Bucco. “While we want more success stories like Grace, we don’t want children to have to endure the process in the first place. More research is needed to help us prevent pediatric cancers before they happen and make treatments easier and more successful when needed.”
Grace and her mother testified in support of the legislation during the Health Committee meeting today.