On February 2, President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden relaunched the White House’s Cancer Moonshot initiative with a commitment to reduce the death rate from cancer by at least 50% over the next 25 years. This is a follow-up to the initial Cancer Moonshot of 2016, which included $1.8 billion in cancer research funding.
To inspire urgency, the president created a “Cancer Cabinet” with representatives from various federal departments to coordinate and drive the initiative. The president also named a White House Cancer Moonshot coordinator, Dr. Danielle Carnival, who currently serves in the Office of Science and Technology Policy. While the initiative does not include new funding, the president called on Congress to pass legislation currently being developed in the House.
Dubbed “CURES 2.0,” HR 6000 would provide the necessary fuel for the Cancer Moonshot to take off. Representatives Fred Upton (R-MI) and Diana DeGette (D-CO) introduced the bipartisan bill last November. The bill has the full endorsement of the Colorectal Cancer Alliance and a broad range of medical associations, health agencies, and research organizations. Some of the important elements in this wide-ranging legislation include:
- Establish the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), an entirely new agency whose sole purpose is to cure diseases such as cancer, diabetes, ALS, Alzheimer’s, and others. It would be housed within the National Institutes of Health (NIH), but able to advance innovative research beyond the current parameters of NIH. The bill provides $6.5 billion to operate the agency for three years.
- Medicare would cover innovative new treatments and technologies so they are available to patients sooner.
- Require greater diversity in clinical trials.
- Better empower patients by providing more information about the illness and treatment options, so they are a more integral part of decision-making
- Increase access to telehealth services for Medicare and Medicaid patients.
This vital legislation has 81 co-sponsors, yet experts give it a slim chance of being passed by Congress.
The only way this bill will move forward is if legislators hear from their constituents. Because 2022 is an election year, every office will be paying close attention to what their voters see as important.
We encourage you to check the list of current co-sponsors. If your representative has not signed on to this legislation, please call their office – you can find their phone number at here. Ask that he or she co-sponsor HR 6000, the CURES 2.0 Act. You may want to indicate how you or your family has been impacted by colorectal cancer and why it is so important we find better treatments and, ultimately, a cure.
Please join the Colorectal Cancer Alliance in showing your support for the Cancer Moonshot initiative and the CURES 2.0 Act.
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