ICYMI: Rep. McCaul gives remarks in support of the Creating Hope Reauthorization Act
Washington, D.C. – Today, the House of Representatives passed the Creating Hope Reauthorization Act by a voice vote. Congressman McCaul (TX-10) worked with Congressman G.K. Butterfield (NC-01) to pass this life-saving piece of legislation that creates a market to get more pediatric cancer and rare disease drugs approved in the U.S. for pediatric cancer patients.
-Remarks as Delivered-
"Thank you Mr. Speaker. Let me thank the Ranking Member from Oregon, for your steadfast leadership on this issue. We're back on the floor and the energy and commerce in general for support of this bill four years ago and now a four-year re-authorization. As founder and co-chair of the Childhood Cancer Caucus, I met with countless cancer patients and advocates who have asked me for one thing: hope.
"They want meaningful hope. something realistic. something tangible. better cures. safer treatment. more research dollars.
"So alongside with my colleagues, Mr. Butterfield, Mr. Kelly, Ms. Speier, we have used the Childhood Cancer Caucus to produce that hope. This caucus has yielded tangible results for the hundreds of thousands of patients, advocates and parents that were just hoping for better results.
"When we first started this caucus, over a decade ago, there were only two new drugs developed to specifically treat pediatric cancer in the prior 20 years. I would talk to these children and their parents and they would tell me that the cancer just had no treatment or if there was a treatment, it was from a drug developed in the 1960's or older. Many of these drugs were meant to be used by adults, and their intent was to kill the cancer before they killed the patient.
"That is why Mr. Butterfield and I worked together to pass the original Creating Hope Act in 2011, to try to create a market to get more pediatric cancer and rare disease drugs approved in this country. Specifically, our bill created a voucher award within the FDA for companies that develop rare pediatric disease drugs have priority on future products that could save kids' lives.
"I'm happy to report that this program has been very successful. Since 2014, when the first voucher was issued, 22 new drugs for rare diseases in kids had been approved by the FDA, including two drugs for childhood cancers with more expected on the way.
"I've seen firsthand the wonders of this program. In September of 2013, a constituent of mine named Rex Ryan, was diagnosed with Stage 4 Neuroblasto Neuroblastoma. After exhausting options, he received a novel new drug that was developed and approved in part because of the incentive of the Creating Hope Act. Rex is now cancer free and a healthy third grader, saved by the drug developed because of this program. It is for Rex and all the other children that have been saved because of this program and will be saved from this program.
"That is why I stand here today in support of the bill. I think most remarkably, a dear friend of mine, Dr. Allison from M.D. Anderson, who had a clinical trial going, was able to use the voucher going to obtain FDA approval for a treatment now called Immunotherapy. It's a breakthrough in cancer treatment, not just for children, but for all adults. and he got the Nobel Peace Prize in medicine for it.
"This bill before us today re-authorizes this program for another four years. I hope to see when we come back again this program will be made permanent. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Congress to achieve that goal. I appreciate the support from the advocates, members of my team, especially my outgoing Legislative Director, Thomas Rice, who spent countless hours meeting with the advocates, the brains behind the operation, and Nancy Goodman, who gave us all these great ideas to develop four major pieces of legislation. I can't thank you enough, Thomas, for all your great work.
"Together, we can and will defeat childhood cancer. it's vital we keep this program alive so we keep hope alive for the hundreds of thousands of children and their families that are waiting for the break, the big break of a treatment. So with that, Mr. Speaker, I want to thank you and my colleagues and I yield back."