Duckworth introduces bill to increase investments in liver cancer research & raise awareness
[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today introduced legislation to increase federal support for liver cancer research and help make life-saving preventive and treatment services more accessible to people all across the country. The Liver Illness Visibility, Education and Research (LIVER) Act would boost funding for liver cancer research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by $45 million and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by $90 million while also implementing other new initiatives at these agencies to elevate this critical issue. A companion version was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Representative Nydia Velazquez (D-NY-07).
“Far too many Americans have died due to liver cancer, a disease that disproportionately impacts the Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community,” Duckworth said. “I’m proud to introduce this important legislation in the Senate today to help make sure the federal government is properly investing in studying liver cancer, finding a cure and increasing access to preventive and primary cancer services that detect the disease early and save lives.”
“As the Representative of the Manhattan and Brooklyn Chinatowns, my office hears frequently the disproportionate burden that liver cancer has on Asian American communities,” said Velázquez, who previously introduced the House version of the bill. “Early detection can be the difference between life or death for many of our families and that’s why I’m proud Senator Duckworth joined me in introducing this legislation allocating $135 million to liver cancer research and preventative resources.”
Specifically, the LIVER Act would:
- Authorize an additional $45 million per year for 5 years for liver cancer and hepatitis B research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
- Raise the profile of liver disease at the NIH by adding Liver to the name of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) to make it the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive, Kidney and Liver Diseases
- Elevate the Liver Branch at NIDDK to a Division and require that the new Liver Division report directly to the Institute Director
- Direct the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to issue targeted calls for proposals, including a call for a new liver Specialized Program of Research Excellence for primary liver cancer, and have those proposals reviewed by a new Special Emphasis Panel
- Direct NIH to establish an inter-institute working group to coordinate hepatitis B and liver cancer research.
- Authorize an additional $90 million per year for 5 years for prevention and awareness grants at the CDC, including grants for screening, vaccination, and treatment for liver cancer, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and cirrhosis of the liver.
Duckworth has promoted medical research throughout her first term as a U.S. Senator. In January of this year, she reintroduced a resolution with U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-09) to recognize the need to increase awareness of sex- and gender-based biomedical research, the underrepresentation of women in past biomedical research and the importance of inclusive health research for women.
The LIVER Act has been endorsed by the following organizations: AIDS Institute, AIDS United, Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organization, Global Liver Institute, Hepatitis B Foundation and Liver Health Coalition.