Sunday, March 13, 2016

Resolution Explains Childhood Cancer Research Need

House Resolution 1043 was adopted by the Oklahoma House of Representatives March 9, 2016, and was filed with the Oklahoma Secretary of State the next day. 


2nd Session of the 55th Legislature (2016)

RESOLUTION 1043                                                                  By: Nelson and Thomsen


A Resolution expressing certain belief; encouraging
partnerships that improve effectiveness of treatments
for childhood cancer and reduce negative effects of
such treatment; and directing distribution.

    WHEREAS, cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children in the United States; and

  WHEREAS, approximately one in 285 children in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer before their 20th birthday; and

    WHEREAS, the incidence of childhood cancer is on the increase, averaging 0.6 percent increase per year since the mid 1970s, an overall increase of 24 percent over the last 40 years; and

    WHEREAS, childhood cancer occurs regularly, randomly and spares no ethnic group, socioeconomic class or geographic region; and

    WHEREAS, the causes of most childhood cancers are unknown and are not strongly linked to lifestyle or environmental risk factors and therefore cannot be prevented; and

    WHEREAS, there are 16 major types of pediatric cancer and more than 100 subtypes; and

    WHEREAS, through research great advances have been made in treating childhood cancer, increasing the overall survival rate of children with cancer to nearly 80 percent, but some childhood cancers still have a high mortality rate such as advanced stage neuroblastoma, metastatic sarcomas and certain brain tumors; and

    WHEREAS, survival rates can range from almost zero percent for cancers such as DIPG, a type of brain cancer, to as high as 90 percent for the most common type of childhood cancer known as Acute Lymphoma Leukemia (ALL); and

    WHEREAS, the most common causes of death in childhood cancer survivors are the return of the primary cancer, a different primary cancer and damage to the heart and lungs; and

    WHEREAS, more than 95 percent of childhood cancer survivors will have long-lasting chronic conditions from treatment, and will have a significant health-related issue by the time they are 45 years of age from side-effects of either the cancer or, more commonly, the result of the currently employed treatments which are toxic and harsh; and

    WHEREAS, the late effects of childhood cancer include infertility, heart failure, breast cancer, secondary cancers and other negative health consequences; and

    WHEREAS, "Curing childhood cancer is the equivalent of curing breast cancer in terms of productive life years saved", according to Dr. Eugenie Kleinerman at MD Anderson Cancer Center; and

    WHEREAS, the average age at diagnosis of cancer in adults is 67 years with 17 years of life lost on average to cancer, whereas the average age at diagnosis of cancer in children is 6 years with 71 years of life lost on average to cancer; and

    WHEREAS, the FDA has approved only three drugs for pediatric cancer in the past 30 years; and

    WHEREAS, for many of the childhood cancers the same treatments that existed in the 1970s continue without change; and

    WHEREAS, on average, pediatric hospitalizations for cancer cost almost five times as much as hospitalizations for other pediatric conditions; and

    WHEREAS, in 2014 it was estimated that childhood cancer research received only four percent or $195 million of the National Cancer Institute budget of $4.9 billion; and

    WHEREAS, approximately 60 percent of all funding for cancer drug development comes from pharmaceutical companies which commit virtually no funding or effort to drug development for childhood cancer because of the small profits to be made from the small market size; and

    WHEREAS, in 1999, as part of the tobacco settlement, the State of Texas created a $200 million permanent endowment dedicated to childhood cancer research at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and significant portions of tobacco settlement funds at other Texas medical schools have been devoted to childhood cancer research; and

    WHEREAS, for each dollar the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust invests, researchers are able to attract another three dollars in outside support for scientific research.


    THAT the Oklahoma House of Representatives believes that Oklahoma has an opportunity to benefit children who are battling cancer by establishing research partnerships between public entities like the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust and public universities and other medical research organizations.

    THAT the Oklahoma House of Representatives encourages such partnerships designed to improve the effectiveness of treatments for childhood cancer and reduce the negative late effects of treatment of childhood cancer so more children will survive cancer and suffer fewer negative late effects from treatment.

    THAT the Oklahoma House of Representatives directs that this resolution be distributed to the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust, the University of Oklahoma and the Jimmy Everest Center at the Children's Hospital at the University of Oklahoma Medical Center.

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