Caltagirone applauds Senate passage of historic childhood cancer research bill

HARRISBURG, Oct. 25 – State Rep. Thomas Caltagirone said he applauds the Pennsylvania Senate’s passage of his bill to raise desperately needed funds for pediatric cancer research, positioning the historic legislation for the governor’s signature.

“This is a major first step in Pennsylvania’s fight to fund a cure for childhood cancer, and I’m profoundly grateful for the support of my colleagues in getting this legislation to the governor’s desk,” said Caltagirone, D-Berks. “Pediatric cancer is claiming too many young lives, causing too much suffering, and this bill will help raise the money we need to discover new treatments and eventually cures for pediatric cancers.”

House Bill 46 would establish a check-off box on state income tax returns, allowing individuals to make contributions to pediatric cancer research. The money, deducted from a taxpayer’s refund, will go to Pennsylvania institutions conducting childhood cancer research.

House Bill 46 is part of a package of bills Caltagirone has introduced that, combined, aim to raise more than $100 million over the next 10 years for pediatric cancer research. A bill to create a similar check-off box on driver’s licenses and vehicle registration forms also unanimously passed the House and is close to final passage in the Senate, he said.

Right now, the vast majority of money raised for fighting cancer goes toward adult cancer research in spite of the fact that research conducted on children is almost always transferable to adult treatments but adult research is not always transferable to children. Pediatric cancer is the leading cause of death by disease among children ages 1 to 14 in the United States. It is estimated that a child is diagnosed with cancer every two minutes, with an average of seven children dying every day across the United States.

“I’m confident that the generous citizens of Pennsylvania will step up and donate money to help fund a cure for pediatric cancer,” Caltagirone said. “We’ve got to act now with purpose, and I will continue to do everything in my power to ensure we take care of Pennsylvania’s youngest and most vulnerable citizens.”