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Pancreatic Cancer Action Network Legislative Priorities for 2014

The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network calls on the 113th Congress to help us make progress against the fourth leading cancer killer by:

  1. Providing $5.26 billion for the National Cancer Institute for FY 2015. Click here to read more.
  2. Continuing to include pancreatic cancer in the Department of Defense (DoD) Peer-Reviewed Cancer Research Program (PRCRP) and providing the Senate-approved funding level of $50 million for the program. Click here to read more.
  3. Ensuring that the provisions of the Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act are fully implemented. Click here to read more.
  4. Joining the Congressional Caucus on the Deadliest Cancers. Click here to read more.

1. Providing $5.26 billion for the National Cancer Institute for FY 2015.
Pancreatic cancer is still the deadliest major cancer with a five-year relative survival rate of just 6% and no standard early detection tools and only minimally effective treatments. Further, pancreatic cancer is expected to move from the fourth to the second leading cause of cancer-related death in the U.S. by 2020.

Pancreatic cancer statistics call for aggressive measures now to develop useful early detection tools and effective treatments before even more Americans fall victim to this deadly cancer. Our ability to make progress, however, is hindered by declining medical and cancer research funding. Over the last decade, the NIH has lost more than 20% of its purchasing power (when factoring in the rate of biomedical inflation). And in fiscal year 2013, the NCI budget was cut by 5.8%, largely as a result of sequestration. Moreover, although the NCI is the nation’s key source of cancer research funding, its share of the NIH budget has declined, from 18.7 percent in the late 1990s to 16.4 percent today – a loss of $680 million

We cannot hope to have success in diseases like pancreatic cancer if current funding trends continue. Further, it will be very difficult to leverage the opportunities that develop as a result of the Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act unless adequate funding is provided by Congress. That’s why we are asking Congress to support a permanent fix to sequestration and to provide $5.26 billion for the NCI for Fiscal Year 2015 so that we can begin to make the progress so desperately needed in pancreatic cancer.

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2. Continuing to include pancreatic cancer in the Department of Defense (DoD) Peer-Reviewed Cancer Research Program (PRCRP) and providing the Senate-approved funding level of $50 million for the program.
Since 2011, pancreatic cancer has been included in the DoD’s PRCRP, which funds high-risk, high-reward research projects. As a result, over 19 grants totaling more than $6.5 million have been awarded for pancreatic cancer research projects. We ask Congress to continue to include pancreatic cancer in this program and to provide the Senate-approved funding level of $50 million.

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3. Ensuring that the provisions of the Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act are fully implemented.
Congress scored a victory for pancreatic cancer patients when it passed the Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act in December 2012. This bill, which was signed into law on January 2, 2013, calls on the NCI to develop scientific frameworks for pancreatic and lung cancer, which will help provide the strategic direction needed to make true progress in these deadly cancers. Under the statute, the director may also develop scientific frameworks for other deadly or recalcitrant cancers, defined as those with a five-year survival rate below 50%.

We applaud the NCI for releasing the ”Scientific Framework for Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma” in February 2014, ahead of the statutory deadline. This framework is an important step toward improving survival rates for our nation’s deadliest cancers.

The Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act and the NCI’s scientific framework on pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma are important steps toward improving survival rates for pancreatic cancer. While NCI is still working on the specific details for the implementation of each initiative, we are looking forward to working with them on the next steps and hope that they will create frameworks for additional deadly cancers.

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4. Joining the Congressional Caucus on the Deadliest Cancers
The Congressional Caucus on the Deadliest Cancers was established in May 2014 to be a voice for the Americans with a deadly cancer, defined as those with a five-year relative survival of less than 50 percent. The bipartisan Congressional Caucus on the Deadliest Cancers is lead by Representatives Leonard Lance (R-NJ), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Dave Reichert (R-WA), and Henry Waxman (D-CA) and will serve as a hub of information on the nation’s deadliest cancers and as a forum to aid Members of Congress and their staff in working together to address these cancers. The Caucus will raise awareness about the deadliest cancers and will advocate for research and other measures to increase survival and to improve prevention, early detection, and treatment options for these cancers.

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