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Cancer cluster advocate supports new legislation

Tom Jackson • Nov 21, 2013 at 10:00 AM

“That’s the way you find new discoveries, by dumping money into research,” said Brown, whose daughter, Alexa, 11, died of cancer in 2009. “I feel very positive about it.”

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, who supported the legislation, said while children are about 20 percent of the U.S. population, only about 5 percent of the National Institutes of Health research budget goes into pediatric research.

The new National Pediatric Research Network Act, bipartisan legislation President Obama is about to sign into law, authorizes the creation of up to 20 National Pediatric Research Consortia and aims at increasing the amount of research dollars spent on childhood diseases.

“Senator Brown’s bill would allow the director of the NIH to award funding (through grants or otherwise) to support pediatric research networks,” said Yianni Varonis, a spokesman for Brown. “Essentially, this bill would create a more streamlined and efficient system for some NIH pediatric research grants, similar to the successful National Cancer Institute research model making it easier to pool data, form partnerships for clinical trials and find answers to pressing questions among research institutions.”

Warren Brown said after Alexa died, Sherrod Brown came to visit and sat for an hour with Warren and his wife, Wendy, talking about the need for better research into childhood disease.

“Much of the legislation I introduced is based on conversations I’ve had with my constituents, and many ideas have originated in Clyde and greater Northwest Ohio,” Sen. Brown said. “Our state is fortunate to have several world class pediatric hospitals, where groundbreaking research on children’s health concerns happens every day.”

Warren Brown said he believes medical treatment for children should be a top priority.

He said he’s also been told that because children are “pure vessels,” untainted by tobacco and alcohol and other bad adult behavior, they are ideal for performing research into the cause of cancer.

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