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Edward J. Benz Jr., MD, President of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Senators Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Kay Bailey Hutchison
(R-Texas) today introduced the 21st Century Cancer Access to Life-Saving
Early detection, Research and Treatment (ALERT) Act, a bill to
comprehensively address the challenges our nation faces in battling this
This is the first sweeping cancer legislation introduced since the National Cancer Act in 1971, authored by Kennedy.
Senators Kennedy and Hutchison first proposed the idea for
comprehensive cancer legislation last May, when the Health, Education,
Labor and Pensions Committee held a hearing to discuss the need for a
renewed focus on the deadly disease. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute's
president Edward J. Benz, Jr., MD, testified at the hearing and offers
the following comments on the bill:
"We are extremely grateful for the leadership of Senators Kennedy and Hutchison in bringing this important legislation forward.
"Despite the great progress that has been made against cancer in the
past quarter century, the burden of the disease on patients and their
families around the world remains unacceptably high.
"This legislation holds significant promise. It stands to improve
access to latest advances in cancer care. It places much needed focus on
national initiatives in cancer prevention. It outlines a strong set of
priorities to improve patient participation in clinical trials. It
acknowledges that more people are surviving cancer and addresses the
need for greater cancer survivorship care and services. It calls for
reducing disparities in cancer mortality. It provides the resources for
workforce development to help ensure that we have the highly skilled
caregivers needed to expertly and compassionately care for patients.
"It also recognizes that current research has immense potential to
lessen that burden for future generations and provides a powerful
impetus for continued progress. We will be working closely with Senators
Kennedy and Hutchison and their staffs to refine the bill and work for
Edward J. Benz, Jr., MD
President of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Co-Chair of the Research Working Group for the 21st Century Cancer Act
President of the Association of American Cancer Institutes