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Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) Joins as Co-Sponsor of Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act

Visit by Lung Cancer Alliance Advocate, Kevin Atkinson, Spurs Action

WASHINGTON, Aug. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA) hailed the support of Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) who has signed on as a cosponsor of a bill to establish the first ever multi-agency, comprehensive program targeted at lung cancer.


Entitled Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act of 2009, S.332 authorizes a five year program to reduce the mortality rate of lung cancer which continues to be the number one cancer killer.

Lung cancer causes more deaths each year than breast, prostate, colon, kidney, melanoma and liver cancers combined.

"We must elevate lung cancer to a national public health priority because hundreds of thousands of families are -- and will continue to be -- hurt by this disease," Senator Nelson said. "We need to commit every available tool and avenue of research to reduce lung cancer mortality as quickly as possible and that is what the Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act is posed to do."

In thanking Senator Nelson for his support, LCA President & CEO Laurie Fenton Ambrose, said, "Senator Nelson's co-sponsorship of this landmark legislation is very significant. His willingness to join other colleagues and demand that lung cancer no longer be ignored and that it be addressed with greater compassion, increased resources and a comprehensive plan -- is what will ultimately end lung cancer as we know it."

The bill requires the Secretaries of Health and Human Services, Defense and Veterans Affairs to combine forces on a comprehensive, coordinated plan of action with funding authorized for five years to accomplish the mortality reduction goal.

LCA advocate Kevin Atkinson, was inspired to come to Washington, DC and advocate for more lung cancer research after his brother, John, a never smoker, passed away from the disease this June. "My brother's goal was to raise awareness and research funding for lung cancer. I came to DC to make my brother proud and to carry out his mission." Kevin is also the Executive Director of the John Atkinson Lung Cancer Foundation which will provide scholarships to children who have lost a parent to lung cancer.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is required to review its funding priorities in order to meet the lung cancer mortality reduction goal and more national institutes are called on directly to take part, including the National Institute of Heart, Lung and Blood, the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering and the National Institute for Environmental Health.

To insure accountability, the bill requires an annual report to Congress and creates an oversight board composed of the three Cabinet Secretaries and representatives from the fields of lung cancer treatment, research and advocacy.

In addition, the bill directs the Secretaries of Department of Defense (DOD) and Veterans' Affairs (VA) to implement an early detection and disease management program for military personnel who are at high risk for lung cancer because of smoking or exposure to carcinogens during active duty.

The bill also:

-- Authorizes the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to create a new Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction drug program with incentives for new treatments, targeted therapies, vaccines and chemoprevention drugs for precancerous conditions.

-- Requires the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to carry out an early disease research program targeted at the high incidence and mortality rates among minority and low-income populations.

The bill includes specific authorizations of $75,000,000 for certain NIH agencies in FY10 and authorizes such additional sums as may be necessary for all the cited agencies to accomplish the goal for FY 2010 through FY2014.

Lung Cancer Alliance ( is the only national non-profit organization dedicated exclusively to patient support and advocacy for those living with or at risk for lung cancer. Lung Cancer Alliance is committed to leading the movement to reverse decades of stigma and neglect by empowering those with or at risk for the disease, elevating awareness and changing health policy.

CONTACT: Kay Cofrancesco of Lung Cancer Alliance, +1-202-463-2080,

SOURCE Lung Cancer Alliance
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