The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved language directing the NIH to produce a research plan to develop more effective and less toxic therapies for pediatric low-grade astrocytoma, a type of slow-growing cancer that is the most common form of brain tumor afflicting American children under the age of 19.

This action by the Senate Appropriations Committee is a major step forward for the children struggling with this life-shattering form of brain cancer, and gives their families realistic hope for their childs future. Existing therapies are toxic, invasive and ineffective, and havent advanced in decades, said A Kids’ Brain Tumor Cure Foundation, Executive Director Amy Weinstein. We will now redouble our efforts to work with Congress, the White House and the NIH to advance research and develop new therapies.

The report language, reprinted below, accompanies S. 1599, the Labor, Health and Education Appropriations Act, which funds biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health. Specifically, the language:

  • Identifies Pediatric Low-Grade Astrocytoma as a research priorityÓ” and directs the NIH to develop more effective, less toxic alternative non-invasive treatments;
  • Asks the National Cancer Institute to report back to Congress in 2012 on two practical stumbling blocks to basic research into this type of slow-growing pediatric tumors: the shortage of viable tissue samples and the lack of a mouse model;
  • Directs the National Institute of Health to prioritize targeted translational research projects to identify compounds and therapies that might be used as more effective, less toxic treatments;
  • Urges the National Cancer Institute to accelerate the paceÓ” of research into Pediatric Low-Grade Astrocytoma, with creation of a sequential research agenda and timeline; and
  • Recommends greater collaboration among public and private sector organizations funding related research initiatives.

The language included in Senate Report 112-84 accompanying S. 1599 is as follows:

HHS, National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute

Slow-Growing Children’s Brain Tumors- Two primary roadblocks to basic research on pediatric low-grade astrocytoma [PLGA] brain tumors have been identified: a shortage of viable tissue samples and the lack of a mouse model. The Committee urges NCI to establish research priorities that address the shortage of tissue samples by incentivizing hospitals and medical institutions to centralize and share tissue samples. The Committee also urges NIH to examine possible solutions to address the lack of a mouse model for PLGA brain tumors. The Committee requests an update on these issues in the fiscal year 2013 congressional budget justification.

HHS, National Institutes of Health, Office of the Director

Pediatric Low-Grade Astrocytoma [PLGA]- The Committee understands that current treatments for PLGA, a slow-growing children’s brain cancer, are invasive, toxic and largely ineffective, and have not advanced in almost 25 years. Therefore, the Committee urges NCI, NINDS, NIBIB, and ORDR to accelerate the pace of expansion of the pediatric cancer research portfolio by creating research priorities with a sequential agenda and timeline, and facilitating the collaboration of organizations (both public and private) already funding related research initiatives. The Committee further encourages the institutes to prioritize targeted translational research projects that will help identify chemical compounds or combination therapies for use as more effective, less toxic treatments. The Committee requests an update on these efforts in the fiscal year 2013 congressional budget justification.