In a press conference held at Stanford Hospital & Clinics yesterday, Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-Palo Alto) announced the passage of a new law aimed at developing better treatments and potential cures for the deadliest of cancers.
Signed into law by President Obama on January 3, the Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act, requires the National Cancer Institute to examine its current research efforts on cancers with very low survival rates, including pancreatic and lung cancer, and work to develop early detection methods and better treatment options to improve outcomes. The NCI will develop a long-term plan, or scientific framework, for pancreatic and other recalcitrant cancers to gauge its current efforts in the disease and make recommendations on ways to speed progress.
Eshoo was joined by Lisa Niemi Swayze, Patrick Swayze's widow and chief ambassador of hope for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network; Stanford oncologist George Fisher, MD, a leading cancer-research advocate who treated Patrick Swayze for pancreatic cancer; and Julie Fleshman, president and CEO of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. Eshoo was introduced by Amir Dan Rubin, president & CEO of Stanford Hospital & Clinics.
In her speech, Eshoo explained the signficance of the law:
This is larger than a piece of legislation. This is about hope for families and people across our country. We are here in a place that does the most superb research in the world and to speed up the research and to move these recalcitrant cancers to the top of the list at the NCI is absolutely essential for us to make progress.
Fisher also shared his views as a physician and researcher:
When patients come to me with pancreatic cancer, they come to me with both hope and fear. They fear what they've read. They fear the statistics we've already heard today. But they hope they can beat the odds and that some cutting edge treatment will give them a better outlook in life, more time, or maybe chance for a cure. We do cure some, but only some. My patients deserve better than that. They deserve better than what I can offer them.
I'm confident that the success that we will achieve in pancreas cancer through this effort will have a tremendous trickledown effect. If we can beat one of the toughest cancers, we're going to have gains in many other cancers.
Previously: New clues arise in pancreatic cancer from Stanford researchers
Photo by Norbert von der Groeben/Stanford Hospital