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With 'cancer moonshot' leaping forward, Higgins invites Biden to visit Roswell Park


Fri, Jul 1st 2016 11:45 am

Congressman points to longstanding leadership in breakthrough research at RPCI

Congressman Brian Higgins is reaching out to Vice President Joseph Biden, formally inviting the leader of the "cancer moonshot" initiative to see first-hand the outstanding cancer research happening right here in Western New York at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

"Roswell Park gave the world cancer research when it opened as the first dedicated cancer center in 1898, and it has been contributing to our understanding of cancer and pioneering treatments ever since," Higgins wrote in a letter to Biden, which also cited Roswell Park's most recent work with Cuba to bring the CimaVax lung cancer vaccine to the U.S.

Higgins, a member of the congressional cancer caucus, was among hundreds of Western New Yorkers participating in and attending a June 29 "cancer moonshot" summit at Roswell Park, featuring a live-feed of remarks by Biden.

President Barack Obama first announced the "cancer moonshot" initiative in his annual State of the Union Address. This year, his administration dedicated $195 million in new cancer research funding immediately with plans for an additional $755 million fiscal year 2017.

Biden, who lost his son to cancer last year, chaired the first meeting of the "cancer moonshot" task force on Feb. 1. 

Higgins, whose district includes Roswell Park Cancer Institute, one of just 45 National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the country, has been a champion for a substantial increase in the federal commitment to research aimed at better treatments and the elimination of disease.

Higgins is the lead Democratic sponsor of the Cancer Drug Coverage Parity Act (H.R. 2739), a bipartisan bill that aims to provide equal insurance coverage for traditional, intravenous chemotherapy and orally administered prescription chemotherapy drugs. Last year, the congressman also introduced H.R. 531, the Accelerating Biomedical Research Act, bipartisan legislation that would add over $57 billion in new funding to the National Institutes of Health over the next six years.

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