“Decisions Are Made By Those Who Show Up”*

Responding to a threat of a funding reduction to the Department of Defense’s Ovarian Cancer Research Program, during the last week of October the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance urged advocates to contact their Members of Congress to appeal to the Appropriations Defense Subcommittee to increase funding for the research program. As a result of the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance’s advocacy efforts, 14 Senators and 77 Representatives showed their opposition to the funding cut by signing a Dear Colleague letter sent to the Subcommittee Tuesday, November 3, 2009. …

Advocates Work To Prevent Slash In Ovarian Cancer Research Funding

Responding to a threat of a funding reduction to the Department of Defense’s Ovarian Cancer Research Program, during the last week of October the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance (OCNA) urged advocates to contact their Members of Congress to appeal to the Appropriations Defense Subcommittee to increase funding for the research program.

OCNAadvocates1

Advocates lobbying on Capitol Hill for increased funds for ovarian cancer research. (Photo: Ovarian Cancer National Alliance)

As a result of OCNA’s advocacy efforts, 14 Senators and 77 Representatives showed their opposition to the funding cut by signing a Dear Colleague letter sent to the Subcommittee Tuesday, November 3, 2009.

The Dear Colleague letter, written by Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), requested that the Subcommittee allocate the $25 million set forth in the U.S. House of Representatives‘ version of the Defense bill, and not the $10 million outlined in the U.S. Senate version of the bill. The Senate funding level represented a 50 percent reduction from the $20 million appropriated in fiscal year (FY) 2009.

The date of the conference subcommittee meeting has yet to be announced.

Established in 1997, the Department of Defense’s Ovarian Cancer Research Program has received $10 million in funding annually from FY 1998 until FY 2008. However, for FY 2009, the program’s funding was doubled to $20 million. The Ovarian Cancer Research Program works to eliminate ovarian cancer by conducting innovative, multidisciplinary research on early detection, screening and treatment of ovarian cancer.

To read the full text of the letter and see if your elected officials signed, please click here.

The Ovarian Cancer Action Network periodically sends out action alerts to notify advocates of pressing issues that need constituent support. To sign up, please click here.

About the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance

OCNA is the advocacy arm of the ovarian cancer movement. OCNA works with federal policy makers, including the  U.S. President, U.S. Congress, and federal agencies like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). OCNA commits its resources to be a voice for ovarian cancer survivors and significantly reduce the number of deaths from this deadly disease by advocating at the federal level for the following:

• Adequate and sustained funding for ovarian cancer research and awareness programs, and

• Legislation that improves quality of life and access to care for ovarian cancer patients.

Since 1997, when OCNA was founded, death rates from ovarian cancer have not significantly changed. However, OCNA has worked to increase funding for ovarian cancer research, with the goal that this funding will support breakthroughs to help detect ovarian cancer early, treat it more thoroughly, and allow women with ovarian cancer to survive, and thrive.

OCNA has worked to ensure that (i) necessary treatments are covered by Medicare, (ii) drugs and tests on the market are safe and effective, and (iii) federal policy makers are aware of the importance of the ovarian cancer community.

Join OCNA to fight for women with ovarian cancer, and policies that help support them and their families.

Source: Advocates Work To Prevent Slash In Ovarian Cancer Research Funding, News Update, Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, November 11, 2009.

*Title Quote:  Fictional U.S. President Josiah Edward Bartlet, What Kind of Day Has It Been Episode, The West Wing, created by Aaron Sorkin, originally aired May 17, 2000 [Sorkin attributes his teleplay quote to Woody Allen (“80% of success in life is just showing up”)].

U.S. Ovarian Cancer Research Funding Slashed In Half — Take Action & Call Your U.S. Congressman & Senators Today!

As a result of a recent U.S. Senate mark-up, the funding for the Department of Defense Ovarian Cancer Research Program (DOD OCRP) has been slashed in half from $20 million to $10 million. Research conducted under the DOD OCRP program is critical because it is solely dedicated to ovarian cancer. … Please help us make sure that the Dear Colleague letter obtains enough signatures to make an impact. If we act in unison, we can speak with one voice to obtain $25 million in appropriations for the DOD OCRP.

Rosie The riveter

Click the picture above & enter your zip code to obtain U.S. Congress calling instructions from the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance

As a result of a recent U.S. Senate mark-up, the funding for the Department of Defense Ovarian Cancer Research Program (DOD OCRP) has been slashed in half from $20 million to $10 million. Research conducted under the DOD OCRP program is critical because it is solely dedicated to ovarian cancer.

As the U.S. Congress prepares to go into conference, whereby the U.S. House of Representatives (House) and U.S. Senate (Senate) meet to finalize appropriation levels, a “Dear Colleague” letter is being circulated in both the House and the Senate urging the Congressional leadership to follow the original $25 million funding level that was adopted in the House with respect to the DOD OCRP program.

Please help us make sure that the Dear Colleague letter obtains enough signatures to make an impact. If we act in unison, we can speak with one voice to obtain $25 million in appropriations for ovarian cancer research.

The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance provides easy instructions that allow you to request your U.S. Representative and (two) U.S. Senators to sign the Dear Colleague. If you are serious about the fight against ovarian cancer, PLEASE CALL TODAY.

CLICK HERE to be taken to the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance website where you can input your zip code to obtain specific U.S. Congress calling instructions. Your efforts will make a difference.

SourceOvarian Cancer Research Funding slashed in half — call your Congressman and Senators today! Action Alert, Ovarian Cancer National Alliance.

Senator Barbara Boxer Reintroduces Legislation to Better Diagnosis Ovarian Cancer

On March 31, 2009, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) reintroduced the Ovarian Cancer Biomarker Research Act of 2009 (H.R. 1816) legislation to develop new technologies to detect and fight ovarian cancer.  The Ovarian Cancer Biomarker Research Act bill, if ultimately enacted as law, would authorize $30 million each year for four years to fund research and development of reliable screening techniques for ovarian cancer. The bill would also authorize clinical trials to verify research techniques and bring together a panel of experts to evaluate and direct the progress of the work.

Senator Barbara Boxer of the State of California

Senator Barbara Boxer of the State of California

On March 31, 2009, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) reintroduced the Ovarian Cancer Biomarker Research Act of 2009 (H.R. 1816) legislation to develop new technologies to detect and fight ovarian cancer.  The Ovarian Cancer Biomarker Research Act bill, if ultimately enacted as law, would authorize $30 million each year for four years to fund research and development of reliable screening techniques for ovarian cancer. The bill would also authorize clinical trials to verify research techniques and bring together a panel of experts to evaluate and direct the progress of the work.

Upon reintroduction of  H.R. 1816, Senator Boxer said, “Early detection is key to helping more women beat this dangerous disease. When ovarian cancer is diagnosed in its early stages, more than 93 percent of women go on to live longer than five years. I am proud to sponsor this bill that makes a commitment to fight ovarian cancer with every possible tool.”

Congressman Howard L. Berman (D-CA) also reintroduced the Ovarian Cancer Biomarker Research Act of 2009 on March 31st in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The complete text of H.R. 1816, the Ovarian Cancer Biomarker Research Act of 2009, is set forth below.  This is the original text of the bill as it was written by its sponsor and submitted to the U.S. House of Representatives for consideration.  For an Adobe Reader PDF copy of H.R. 1816, CLICK HERE.

This bill is in the first step in the U.S. legislative process. Introduced bills and resolutions first go to committees that deliberate, investigate, and revise them before they go to general debate. The majority of bills and resolutions never make it out of committee.  Contact your U.S. Representative and let him or her know that you support this bill.

Source: Boxer Reintroduces Legislation to Better Diagnose Ovarian Cancer, Press Release, Office of Senator Barbara Boxer, April 1, 2009.

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HR 1816:  Ovarian Cancer Biomarker Research Act of 2009

111th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 1816

To amend the Public Health Service Act to authorize the Director of the National Cancer Institute to make grants for the discovery and validation of biomarkers for use in risk stratification for, and the early detection and screening of, ovarian cancer.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

March 31, 2009

Mr. BERMAN (for himself, Mr. HALL of Texas, Ms. BORDALLO, Ms. LEE of California, Mr. VAN HOLLEN, Mr. MCGOVERN, Mr. MCDERMOTT, Mr. BOUCHER, Mr. KING of New York, Mr. GENE GREEN of Texas, Mr. WOLF, Ms. KILROY, Mr. BURTON of Indiana, Mr. ISRAEL, Mr. HINCHEY, Mr. SESTAK, Ms. DELAURO, Ms. SHEA-PORTER, Mrs. MALONEY, Mr. MCMAHON, Ms. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ, Mrs. CAPPS, Mr. SERRANO, Mr. FARR, and Ms. EDWARDS of Maryland) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce

A BILL

To amend the Public Health Service Act to authorize the Director of the National Cancer Institute to make grants for the discovery and validation of biomarkers for use in risk stratification for, and the early detection and screening of, ovarian cancer.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the ‘Ovarian Cancer Biomarker Research Act of 2009′.

SEC. 2. GRANTS FOR ESTABLISHMENT AND OPERATION OF RESEARCH CENTERS FOR THE STUDY OF OVARIAN CANCER BIOMARKERS.

Subpart 1 of part C of the Public Health Service Act is amended by adding at the end the following new section:

‘SEC. 417G. GRANTS FOR ESTABLISHMENT AND OPERATION OF RESEARCH CENTERS FOR THE STUDY OF OVARIAN CANCER BIOMARKERS.

‘(a) In General- The Director of the Institute, in consultation with the directors of other relevant institutes and centers of the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense Ovarian Cancer Research Program, shall enter into cooperative agreements with, or make grants to, public or nonprofit entities to establish and operate centers to conduct research on biomarkers for use in risk stratification for, and the early detection and screening of, ovarian cancer, including fallopian tube cancer or primary peritoneal cancer. Each center shall be known as an Ovarian Cancer Biomarker Center of Excellence, and shall focus on translational research of ovarian cancer biomarkers.

‘(b) Research Funded- Federal payments made under a cooperative agreement or grant under subsection (a) may be used for research on any of the following:

‘(1) The development and characterization of new biomarkers, and the refinement of existing biomarkers, for ovarian cancer.

‘(2) The clinical and laboratory validation of such biomarkers, including technical development, standardization of assay methods, sample preparation, reagents, reproducibility, portability, and other refinements.

‘(3) The development and implementation of clinical and epidemiological research on the utilization of biomarkers for the early detection and screening of ovarian cancer.

‘(4) The development and implementation of repositories for new tissue, urine, serum, and other biological specimens (such as ascites and pleural fluids).

‘(5) Genetics, proteomics, and pathways of ovarian cancer as they relate to the discovery and development of biomarkers.

‘(c) First Agreement or Grant- Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this section, the Director of the Institute shall enter into the first cooperative agreement or make the first grant under this section.

‘(d) Availability of Banked Specimens- The Director of the Institute shall make available for research conducted under this section banked serum and tissue specimens from clinical research regarding ovarian cancer that was funded by the Department of Health and Human Services.

‘(e) Report- Not later than the end of fiscal year 2010, and annually thereafter, the Director of the Institute shall submit a report to the Congress on the cooperative agreements entered into and the grants made under this section.

‘(f) Authorization of Appropriations- For the purpose of carrying out this section, there are authorized to be appropriated $25,000,000 for each of the fiscal years 2010 through 2013, and such sums as may be necessary for each of the fiscal years 2014 through 2020. Such authorization of appropriations is in addition to any other authorization of appropriations that is available for such purpose.’.

SEC. 3. OVARIAN CANCER BIOMARKER CLINICAL TRIAL COMMITTEE.

Subpart 1 of part C of the Public Health Service Act, as amended by section 2, is further amended by adding at the end the following new section:

SEC. 417H. OVARIAN CANCER BIOMARKER CLINICAL TRIAL COMMITTEE.

‘(a) Ovarian Cancer Biomarker Research Committee Established- The Director of the Institute shall establish an Ovarian Cancer Biomarker Clinical Trial Committee (in this section referred to as the ‘Committee’) to assist the Director to design and implement one or more national clinical trials, in accordance with this section, to determine the utility of using biomarkers validated pursuant to the research conducted under section 417E for risk stratification for, and early detection and screening of, ovarian cancer.

‘(b) Membership-

‘(1) NUMBER- The Committee shall consist of 11 voting members and such number of nonvoting members as the Director of the Institute determines appropriate.

‘(2) APPOINTMENT- The members of the Committee shall be appointed by the Director of the Institute, in consultation with appropriate national medical societies, research societies, and patient advocate organizations, as follows:

‘(A) VOTING MEMBERS- The voting members of the Committee shall be appointed by the Director of the Institute as follows:

‘(i) Two patient advocates.

‘(ii) Two national experts in statistical analysis, clinical trial design, and patient recruitment.

‘(iii) Two representatives from the Gynecologic Oncology Group.

‘(iv) One representative from the Department of Defense Ovarian Cancer Research Program.

‘(v) Four ovarian cancer researchers.

‘(B) NONVOTING MEMBERS- The nonvoting members of the Committee shall include such individuals as the Director of the Institute determines to be appropriate.

‘(3) PAY- Members of the Committee shall serve without pay and those members who are full time officers or employees of the United States shall receive no additional pay by reason of their service on the Committee, except that members of the Committee shall receive travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, in accordance with applicable provisions under chapter I of chapter 57 of title 5, United States Code.

‘(c) Chairperson- The voting members of the Committee appointed under subsection (b)(2) shall select a chairperson from among such members.

‘(d) Meetings- The Committee shall meet at the call of the chairperson or upon the request of the Director of the Institute, but at least four times each year.

‘(e) Clinical Trial Specifications- In designing and implementing the clinical trials under this section, the Director of the Institute shall provide for the following:

‘(1) PARTICIPATION IN TRIAL- To the greatest extent possible, all academic centers, community cancer centers, and individual physician investigators (as defined in subsection (f)) shall have the opportunity to participate in the trials under this section and to enroll women at risk for ovarian cancer in the trials.

‘(2) COSTS FOR ENROLLMENTS- Subject to the availability of appropriations, all the costs to the centers and offices described in paragraph (1) for enrolling women in the trials under this section shall be reimbursed by the Institute.

‘(3) NATIONAL DATA CENTER- A national data center shall be established in and supported by the Institute to conduct statistical analyses of the data derived from the trials under this section and to store such analyses and data.

‘(4) GUIDELINES FOR MEDICAL COMMUNITY- Data and statistical analyses of the clinical trials under this section shall be used to establish clinical guidelines to provide the medical community with information regarding the use of biomarkers validated pursuant to the research conducted under section 417E for risk stratification for, and early detection and screening of, ovarian cancer.

‘(f) Individual Physician Investigator Defined- For purposes of subsection (e)(1), the term ‘individual physician investigator’ means a physician–

‘(1) who is a faculty member at an academic institution or who is in a private medical practice; and

‘(2) who provides health care services to women at risk for ovarian cancer.

‘(g) Report- Not later than the end of fiscal year 2010, and annually thereafter, the Director of the Institute shall submit a report to the Congress on the activities conducted under this section.

‘(h) Authorization of Appropriations- For the purpose of carrying out this section, there are authorized to be appropriated $5,000,000 for each of the fiscal years 2010 through 2013, and such sums as may be necessary for each of the fiscal years 2014 through 2020. Such authorization of appropriations is in addition to any other authorization of appropriations that is available for such purpose.’.