Please go to this story and read the comments from the public; you may want to add your own comments.

GOP's McCaul joins Democrat in effort to improve odds for children


WASHINGTON — Houston-area Republican Rep. Michael McCaul is pressing Congress to boost federal spending to combat cancers that afflict thousands of America's children each year. McCaul, an Austin resident whose congressional district covers northwestern areas of Houston, urged Congress to take action during a Childhood Cancer Summit convened on Capitol Hill to increase lawmakers' awareness about the need for more steps to fight the disease.

McCaul hosted the session with Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pa., with whom he co-founded the 68-member Pediatric Cancer Caucus. Sestak's daughter Alexandra is a brain cancer survivor. McCaul and Sestak already have collaborated to secure $4 million for childhood cancer research in the current federal budget.

For every $6 in federal research spent per AIDS patient and every $1 spent per patient on breast cancer, a child with cancer gets only 30 cents.

"This disease devastates children and families," said McCaul. "Unfortunately the drugs, research, treatment and funding that exist pale in comparison to what's available for adult forms of cancer."

McCaul noted that only one new drug has been approved to combat pediatric cancer since 1980, a period that saw 50 medications approved to fight adult cancers.

"We have an obligation to increase the odds of survival and the quality of survival for our children, and to do that we have to make an investment," he said.

McCaul has enlisted help from two of Texas' renowned cancer specialists.

Research grants

Dr. Eugenie Kleinerman, head of pediatrics at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, told the summit that the molecular abnormalities in childhood cancers "are not necessarily the same as those in adult tumors and thus laboratory research must be focused on
pediatric tumors."
Dr. Susan Blaney, deputy director of Texas Children's Cancer Center, said studies of childhood cancer are showing that what had long been considered to be a single type of tumor "may actually be three, four or five subtypes of the same disease — each with a different set of aberrations." Blaney said that means "instead of needing one treatment for a particular type of cancer, we may need multiple and different types of targeted treatments."

McCaul and Sestak said they plan legislation that would provide drug companies priority review for approval of new drugs targeting childhood cancers, and provide grants to train primary care physicians to better identify side effects of anti-cancer medications in children as well as to spot
any signs of recurrence of the disease.

The lawmakers also seek to provide children greater access to clinical trials of new medications and funding to increase pediatric cancer research at the National Cancer Institute.

"As the father of a child with cancer, I know all too well the gut-wrenching impact it can have," said Sestak, currently the Democratic candidate for the Senate from Pennsylvania.

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If you have a chance, please read this on the Houston Chronicle site, and take a look at some of the comments. Beyond you responding to some of the comments, I believe this may be a way to gain some further publicity for the Caucus by contact with the Chronicle. If you can, please go to the story, tell your story under comments, and suggest it needs wider coverage. This is the home of TX Childrens and MD Anderson, where two of the wonderful presenters at the Caucus LIVE and WORK! Where so many kids are treated. It deserves better.

I wrote the story author:

Dear Stewart,

thank you for sharing the story on the Pediatric Cancer Caucus and Rep. Mike McCaul's efforts in that important arena. I am the father of a childhood cancer victim, my son Alex was lost to cancer at age 14. He was treated at TX Childrens. There was another story on Alex previously in the Chronicle - I had the privilege of attending the Caucus on Thursday and meeting Rep. McCaul. I came away inspired by the efforts of the men and women in that room; a public-private group that has the knowledge and passion to cure childhood cancer - if given sufficient support. I came away with hope. Like you, I prepared a report on the meeting for a childhood cancer advocacy group I am part of: People Against Childhood Cancer. My report can be viewed here.

Beyond thanking you, I wanted to see if there was a more visible manner to respond to the comments in your story, which have me quite...I'm not even sure what the right word is. If you take a look, they are certainly not in support of increased funding for the #1 killer disease of children in America, or Rep. McCaul's efforts. It is a problem the doctors and researchers and a childhood cancer community faces and struggles with on a daily basis. A lack of understanding of the impact of this disease, a quick brush off on calls for more research to save our children; everyone's children, and a slighting of any politician's efforts in supporting this hugely important cause. And I think most importantly; either ignorance or an unwillingness to accept the fact: IT CAN HAPPEN TO YOUR CHILD! I will continue to encourage others to read and comment on your story. But if there is a more public forum that I can respond, or provide a parent's insight into the meeting; it would be greatly appreciated.

Very Respectfully,

AJs Dad
Here are the comments in the Houston Chronicle to this story

Tan-Man (0)
Tan-Man wrote:
I too support increasing funding for child cancer research. The deficit? Oh, we'll pay for it by cutting taxes for the rich.
John Boehner
9/16/2010 10:26:55 PM
Recommend: (5) (8) [Report abuse]
trustme (10)
trustme wrote:
How about diverting them from ESL classes, and the countless millions on printing up multiple language documents.......
9/16/2010 10:29:13 PM
Recommend: (8) (11) [Report abuse]
religion_is_for_the_weak (28)
religion_is_for_the_weak wrote:
I'm not a fan of pinning diseases against each other and turning it into a political issue. Sorry. Let the scientists figure out which ones are priorities. Stem Cells seem to help everything so maybe remove the handcuffs from the researchers and let them do what they have to do.
9/16/2010 10:59:21 PM
Recommend: (8) (9) [Report abuse]
heisjuicy (10)
heisjuicy wrote:
Research fundiing is one of the bigger political piles of crud in our government and that's saying something. Rather than doing more research on the disease, they need to take a look at the food guide pyramid, "healthy" school meals (breakfast and lunch) and tell people that froot loops, cheerios and rice krispies are not healthy. That would cure a lot of things, including MOST cancers - pediatric or not.
9/17/2010 8:11:05 AM
Recommend: (0) (6) [Report abuse]
anarchistinalief (30)
anarchistinalief wrote:
Someone forgot to tell this moron McCaul that the FED-Gov is flat broke and shouldn't be printing one damn dollar more to 'pay' for anything, even feel-good garbage like "cancer" research.
9/17/2010 9:14:33 AM
Recommend: (2) (13) [Report abuse]
AJsDad (0)
AJsDad wrote:
As the father of a childhood cancer victim, I am so offended by the comments on this important story. I am sure none of the comment authors have ever had their 14 year old son ask them: "Dad, what's hospice?" It's the Number 1 killer disease in our country today for kids under 20. More than from asthma, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, congenital anomalies, and pediatric AIDS combined. 45 kids every day are diagnosed and 7 die. 1 in 300 kids will be diagnosed with childhood cancer before age 20. Yet federal funding is severely lacking compared to breast, prostate, colo-rectal and other adult diseases. Kids cancer is NOT cured by breast cancer or prostate cancer research; kids cancers are unique. Did you know any of that? Today, could be YOUR kid.
9/18/2010 7:26:36 AM
Recommend: (6) (0)
Thanks for bringing this to our attention. I commented on the article and am posting the link and my comments on facebook as well.

Dylan's Mom


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