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Legislative UpdatesLegislative Updates

110th Congress

Public Laws | arrow indicating current page Pending Legislation

Breast Cancer and the Environment

P.L. 110-354 (H.R. 1157/S. 579)

Impact of Public Law

P.L. 110-354 requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish an Interagency Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Coordinating Committee. The Coordinating Committee will comprise seven Federal members, including representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; the National Institutes of Health (NIH); the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences; the National Cancer Institute Board of Scientific Advisors; other U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agencies as the Secretary deems appropriate; and other Federal agencies that conduct or support cancer research, including the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD). The Secretary will also appoint six non-Federal members from the scientific or physician communities who represent multiple disciplines and different geographical regions of the country; are from practice settings, academia, or other research settings; and are experienced in the scientific peer-review process, along with six non-Federal members who represent individuals with breast cancer. The Committee shall include as many nonvoting members as the Secretary deems appropriate.

Under P.L. 110-354, the duties of the Interagency Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Coordinating Committee will include the following:

  • Sharing and coordinating information on existing research activities and making recommendations to NIH and other Federal agencies regarding improving existing research programs related to breast cancer research
  • Developing a comprehensive strategy and advising NIH and other Federal agencies in the solicitation of proposals for collaborative, multidisciplinary research. This would include proposals to evaluate environmental and genomic factors that may be related to the etiology of breast cancer that would 1) result in innovative approaches to the study of emerging scientific opportunities or to eliminate knowledge gaps in research to improve the research portfolio; 2) outline key research questions, methodologies, and knowledge gaps; 3) expand the number of research proposals that involve collaboration between two or more national research institutes or national centers, including proposals that could be funded by the NIH Common Fund; and 4) expand the number of collaborative, multidisciplinary, and multi-institutional research grants.
  • Developing a summary of advances in breast cancer research supported or conducted by Federal agencies relevant to the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of cancer
  • Making recommendations to the Secretary of HHS 1) regarding any appropriate changes to research activities, including recommendations to improve the research portfolio of NIH to ensure that scientifically based strategic planning is implemented in support of research priorities that impact breast cancer research activities; 2) to ensure that the activities of NIH and other Federal agencies, including DOD, are not duplicating research efforts; 3) to increase the involvement of patient advocacy and community organizations in public participation in breast cancer research; 4) on how best to disseminate information on breast cancer research progress; and 5) on expanding partnerships between public entities and private entities to expand collaborative crosscutting research.

Legislative History

H.R. 1157 was introduced by Representative Nita M. Lowey (D-NY) on February 16, 2007, and was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. The Senate companion bill, S. 579, was introduced by Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) on February 14, 2007. On September 23, 2008, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce marked up and reported out H.R. 1157 with an amendment in the nature of a substitute, which made a number of changes to the bill as introduced. The substitute amendment eliminated the requirement in the original bill for NIH to award grants for multi-institute research (Centers of Excellence) to study the potential environmental factors related to the etiology of breast cancer. It also eliminated the requirement that NIH establish a breast cancer and environment panel to advise the Director of NIH on the award of these grants. The new provisions require the establishment of an Interagency Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Coordinating Committee as described above.

On September 25, the House voted by a voice vote to suspend the rules and pass H.R. 1157 as amended by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. On September 27, the bill was passed by the Senate by unanimous consent. On October 8, President Bush signed H.R. 1157 into law as P.L. 110-354.

October 2008



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