KXAN: Congressman fights to fast track childhood cancer treatments
Families struggling with childhood cancer could soon have more options. That’s after President Trump signed the RACE for Children Act, a new law that allows drugs that fight cancer for adults to be tested and regulated to fight childhood cancer. The law was sponsored by Central Texas Republican Congressman Michael McCaul, R-Austin.
It’s not a normal day at Twin Creeks Country Club in Cedar Park. Yes, the golfing is there but rarely has there been such a cause behind it.
Chemotherapy continues to tear up Lance White’s body, as he fights off leukemia. With money from Make-A-Wish, he started the Lift Brigade to lift families with cancer up and donate money to research grants. Monday was its first annual charity golf tournament.
“It’s a team effort to help a family get through it. Obviously it’s his challenge, it’s his fight but it impacts everybody,” said Lance’s father Steve White.
For years cancer research has focused on adults. That’s where most of the cases are. But Central Texas Rep Michael McCaul wanted to get rid of regulations that kept adult drugs and child drugs separate.
“When I was in grade school, in 4th grade, I lost my best friend to leukemia. And I saw what happened to him,” Rep. McCaul said.
Later he started the Congressional Childhood Cancer Caucus and in less than a year, the FDA will be required to change the landscape. Families like the Whites say it will help.
“The kids are getting beat up,” White said. “The drugs that my son is taking have been around for 50 years. It’s just been changed on how it’s being given to them but the drugs are the same.”
Lance is in remission and hopes to end treatment this year. They look forward to a day where similar parents will have more options.
Under the RACE for Children Act, the FDA has one year to give the Secretary of Health and Human Services research findings that could support new pediatric cancer treatments. The law includes study designs testing the effectiveness of adult treatments on children, specific molecular “targets” found in pediatric patient populations that adult treatments can address and suggestions about which drugs could best be used to treat pediatric patients.
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