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Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) Joins as Co-Sponsor of Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act

Washington, DC [August 11, 2008] -- Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA) hails the support of Senator Debbie A. Stabenow (D-MI) who has signed on as a co-sponsor of a bill to establish the first ever multi-agency, comprehensive program targeted at lung cancer.

Entitled Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act of 2008, S.3187 authorizes a five year program to reduce the mortality rate of lung cancer which continues to be the number one cancer killer.

Lung cancer causes more deaths each year than breast, prostate, colon, kidney, melanoma and liver cancers combined.

Senator Stabenow said, “Lung cancer continues to claim the lives of more people than any other cancer, yet vital research is still severely underfunded. As a strong proponent of cancer research funding, I am committed to supporting the Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act, which will help advance new and effective treatments, and hopefully, find a cure for this deadly disease.”

In thanking the senator for her support, LCA President & CEO Laurie Fenton Ambrose, said, “Senator Stabenow is looked to as a leader on cancer issues and her co-sponsorship of this breakthrough legislation is very significant.”

The bill requires the Secretaries of Health and Human Services, Defense and Veterans Affairs to combine forces on a comprehensive, coordinated plan of action with funding authorized for five years to accomplish the mortality reduction goal.

John C Ruckdeschel, MD, President and CEO of Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, and an internationally recognized expert on lung cancer said, "Lung cancer is the number one cancer killer among men and women. Anything that can be done to increase the parity in funding for this deadly disease will be a significant advance in reducing cancer morbidity and mortality. This legislation is a strong step in the right direction."

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is required to review its funding priorities in order to meet the lung cancer mortality reduction goal and more national institutes are called on directly to take part, including the National Institute of Heart, Lung and Blood, the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering and the National Institute for Environmental Health

To insure accountability, the bill requires an annual report to Congress and creates an oversight board composed of the three Cabinet Secretaries and representatives from the fields of lung cancer treatment, research and advocacy.

In addition, the bill directs the Secretaries of Department of Defense (DOD) and Veterans’ Affairs (VA) to implement an early detection and disease management program for military personnel who are at high risk for lung cancer because of smoking or exposure to carcinogens during active duty.

The bill also:

  • • Authorizes the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to create a new Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction drug program with incentives for new treatments, targeted therapies, vaccines and chemoprevention drugs for precancerous conditions.
  • • Requires the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to carry out an early disease research program targeted at the high incidence and mortality rates among minority and low-income populations.

The bill includes specific authorizations of $75,000,000 for certain NIH agencies in FY09 and authorizes such additional sums as may be necessary for all the cited agencies to accomplish the goal for FY 2009 through FY2013.

Lung Cancer Alliance (www.LungCancerAlliance.org) is the only national non-profit organization dedicated exclusively to patient support and advocacy for those living with or at risk for lung cancer. Lung Cancer Alliance is committed to leading the movement to reverse decades of stigma and neglect by empowering those with or at risk for the disease, elevating awareness and changing health policy.