THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
PRESIDENT CLINTON AND VICE PRESIDENT GORE ANNOUNCE HISTORIC EFFORTS TO RENEW THE WAR ON CANCER September 26, 1998
Today, the President and Vice President launched a new series of initiatives to redouble our efforts in the war against cancer. The President outlined these new steps in his weekly radio address on cancer and the Vice President delivered the keynote speech to tens of thousands of Americans at the March to Conquer Cancer on the National Mall.
ADVANCING COMMITMENT TO HIGH QUALITY RESEARCH
Called on the Congress to pass the President's historic multi-year commitment to cancer research. Experts believe that we are at the cusp of important new breakthroughs in the war against cancer. Today, the President and Vice President called on Congress to pass the Administration's historic five-year, 65 percent increase in cancer research at the National Institutes of Health. This multiyear investment would ensure that our nation's scientists conduct more extensive and fruitful research than ever before, secure in the knowledge that the research will not be interrupted as the result of funding lapses.
Announced that Federal cancer research programs will fully integrate patients and advocates into research within a year. Cancer advocates and patients provide a unique and critical perspective on the cancer research agenda. Building on unprecedented efforts to integrate patients and advocates into the cancer research program at the Department of Defense and ongoing innovative efforts at NCI, the President and Vice President announced that by next year NCI will fully integrate patients and advocates into activities such as reviewing grant proposals and planning policy.
Issued nationwide challenge for new technological approaches to fight cancer. Winning the war against cancer requires innovative approaches to prevent, detect, treat, and one day cure this disease. Today, the Director of NCI announced a $48 million competitive grant program for researchers to apply new technologies -- from areas such as computer science, engineering, military defense, and astronomy -- to prevent, detect, and treat cancer.
USING NEW PROGRESS IN GENETICS TO ADVANCE PREVENTION AND TREATMENT FOR CANCER
Announced that in the first year of the Cancer Genome Anatomy Project (CGAP), scientists have identified twice as many genes and gene sequences as expected. In 1996, the Vice President unveiled the CGAP, a comprehensive effort to profile genes in precancerous and cancerous cells and by doing so, to unravel the genetics of cancer. The President and Vice President announced that in the first year of this historic effort, the project already has identified more than 300,000 DNA sequences and 12,000 new genes -- double what the NCI initially expected.
Issued historic challenge to scientists to use the CGAP to develop new diagnostic techniques for every major cancer in the next two years. Efforts to unravel the genetics of cancer should be used to make unprecedented progress in improving detection and treatment for cancer patients. The President and the Vice President issued a challenge to scientists to use new knowledge about genetics to develop new diagnostic strategies for every major cancer in the next two years, so that doctors can pinpoint cancers in their earliest and often most treatable stages.
Challenged Congress to pass bipartisan legislation preventing genetic discrimination. According to one report, 63 percent of Americans would not take a genetic test if their health insurers or employers could get access to the results. The President and Vice President renewed their call for Congress to pass bipartisan legislation, similar to legislation introduced by Rep. Slaughter and Senator Snowe, to prohibit health plans and employers from using genetic screening to discriminate against individuals.
SPUR RESEARCH BREAKTHROUGHS BY INCREASING THE NUMBER OF PATIENTS ENROLLED IN NEW NATIONAL CLINICAL TRIALS SYSTEM.
Directed NCI to fully implement its new computer-based clinical trials system for breast, prostate, and colon cancers by next spring. The President and Vice President directed NCI to fully implement a new system to make it easier for physicians to enroll patients in clinical trials. Under the directive, NCI will complete this simplified system for breast, colon and prostate cancer by next spring and expedite the system for other cancers as well. This new system will ensure that physicians are informed about cutting-edge cancer clinical trials and will allow them to enroll patients on the spot. This effort will gives tens of thousands of cancer patients improved access to cancer clinical trials. By increasing participation in these trials, the effort will accelerate test results and spur research breakthroughs.
Challenged Congress to pass a bipartisan initiative that authorizes coverage of cancer clinical trials for Medicare beneficiaries. Americans over the age of 65 make up half of all cancer patients, and are 10 times more likely to get cancer than younger Americans. Older Americans, however, frequently cannot participate in cuttingedge cancer clinical trials because Medicare does not pay for experimental treatments. The President and Vice President renewed the call on Congress to pass a proposal, similar to legislation supported by Senators Mack and Rockefeller, that authorizes coverage of clinical trials for Medicare beneficiaries without harming the Trust Fund.
NEW STEPS TO IMPROVE QUALITY OF CARE FOR CANCER PATIENTS AND SURVIVORS
Renewed call on Congress to pass a strong enforceable bipartisan patients' bill of rights to assure cancer patients of high-quality care. The President and Vice President urged Congress to stop delaying and pass a strong enforceable patients' bill of rights this year. The patients' bill of rights would provide many critical protections for patients with cancer including access to the specialists they need and continuity-of-care protections to prevent them from having to change care suddenly in the middle of treatment.
Unveiled groundbreaking research grants to examine how to prevent cancer recurrence, understand the lifelong impact of cancer treatment, and to improve the quality of life for cancer survivors. The Vice President announced that the NCI is releasing $15 million in new cancer survivorship grants to fund top-of-the-line research to examine the impact of this disease on patients and their families. Specifically, researchers will examine the long-term effects of cancer treatments and the most effective ways to prevent recurrence of cancer and to improve the quality of life for cancer survivors and their families.
APPROVING NEW CUTTING-EDGE DRUGS FOR PATIENTS.
Announced that FDA has approved a record number of cancer drugs. In 1996, the President launched the FDA Initiative on Reinventing the Regulation of Cancer Drugs. Since that time, the FDA Division of Oncology Drug Products has approved more than twice as many new therapies as in the three years prior to the initiative.
Urged Congress to confirm Jane Henney, the first woman and the first oncologist nominated as FDA Commissioner. The President and Vice President urged the Senate not to adjourn without confirming Dr. Jane Henney, the first woman and the first oncologist to be nominated as FDA Commissioner.
URGING CONGRESS TO PASS COMPREHENSIVE TOBACCO LEGISLATION
The President and Vice President are fighting against the leading cause of preventable cancer -- tobacco. Every day 3,000 children start smoking, and one thousand will die of a tobacco-related disease. Today the President and Vice President reminded Americans that they need a Congress that has the courage to pass comprehensive tobacco legislation to stop kids from smoking.