HARRISBURG – The Senate approved a bill today that could generate up to $100 million in private donations over the next decade to support childhood cancer research, according to the bill’s sponsor, Senator Scott Martin (R-13).
Senate Bill 74 would create a tax credit program for qualifying donations to a Pennsylvania pediatric cancer research hospital. The credit would apply to donations made to:
- The Center for Childhood Research, Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania.
- Penn State Hershey Pediatric Hematology/Oncology.
- Abramson Cancer Center, Penn Medicine.
- The UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.
According to the American Cancer Society, more children die from cancer than any other disease. However, the National Cancer Institute spends just 4 percent of its research dollars on pediatric cancer.
“Treating pediatric cancer can be extremely challenging for doctors because many treatments designed for adults may not be suitable for children,” Martin said. “The children and families who face the devastating diagnosis of childhood cancer need all the support and encouragement they can get. This bill will provide the resources that pediatric cancer research hospitals need to expand treatment options and provide a brighter prognosis for patients.”
Recent news regarding a shortage of the pediatric cancer drug vincristine and the potential need to ration the medication underscore the need to explore additional treatments, Martin added.
Martin has led efforts in the General Assembly to support families facing pediatric cancer. Last year, he authored a new law that allows Pennsylvanians to donate $5 to the Pediatric Cancer Research Fund when electronically renewing a driver’s license, photo identification card or vehicle registration. He also spearheaded the creation of a new law last year to provide new telepresence resources to students who face extended absences from school, including young people who are fighting cancer.
Martin also held a news conference in January with advocates, experts and families affected by pediatric cancer.
“Passage of this bill would not have been possible without the passionate advocacy of the young cancer warriors and their families who are not only fighting their own disease, but also fighting for a better prognosis for all of the patients and families who come after them,” Martin said. “They are the inspiration and the driving force behind this bill, and I am proud to stand and fight with them in our efforts to improve treatments and work toward better outcomes for young patients.”
Senate Bill 74 was sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.
CONTACT: Terry Trego (717) 787-6535