Ban Asbestos Act supports funding for mesothelioma research

The 2007 Ban Asbestos in America Act, sponsored by Democratic U.S. Senator Patty Murray of Washington, includes the following language for research funding on mesothelioma and asbestos-related diseases:

SEC. 417E. RESEARCH ON ASBESTOS-RELATED DISEASES.

(a) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary, acting through the Director of NIH and the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, shall expand, intensify, and coordinate programs for the conduct and support of research on diseases caused by exposure to asbestos, particularly mesothelioma, asbestosis, and pleural injuries.

(b) ADMINISTRATION.—The Secretary shall carry out this section in collaboration with—
(1) the Administrator of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry;
(2) the Director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health; and
(3) the head of any other agency, as the Secretary determines to be appropriate

(c) ASBESTOS-RELATED DISEASE REGISTRY….

SEC. 417F. ASBESTOS-RELATED DISEASE RESEARCH AND TREATMENT NETWORK

(a) Establishment.—For each of fiscal years 2008 through 2012, the Director of NIH, in collaboration with other applicable, Federal, State, and local agencies and departments, shall establish and maintain an asbestos-related disease research and treatment network (referred to in this section as the ‘Network’) to support the detection, prevention, treatment, and cure of asbestos-related diseases, with particular emphasis on malignant mesothelioma.

(b) Inclusions.—The Network shall include—
(1) intramural research initiatives of the National Institutes of Health; and
(2) at least 10 extramural asbestos-related disease research and treatment centers, as selected by the Director of NIH in accordance with subsection (c).

(c) Extramural Asbestos-Related Disease Research and Treatment Centers.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—For each fiscal year during which the Network is operated and maintained under subsection (a), the Director of the NIH shall select for inclusion in the Network not less than 10 nonprofit hospitals, universities, or medical or research institutions incorporated or organized in the United States that, as determined by the Director of NIH—
(A) have exemplary experience and qualifications in research and treatment of asbestos-related diseases;
(B) have access to an appropriate population of patients with asbestos-related diseases; and
(C) are geographically distributed through the United States, with special consideration given to areas of high incidence of asbestos-related diseases.

(2) REQUIREMENTS.—Each center selected under paragraph (1) shall—
(A) be chosen by the director of NIH after competitive peer review;

(B) conduct laboratory and clinical research, including clinical trials, relating to—
(i) mechanism for effective therapeutic treatment of asbestos-related diseases;
(ii) early detection and prevention of asbestos-related diseases;
(iii) palliation of asbestos-related disease symptoms; and
(iv) pain management with respect to asbestos-related diseases;

(C) offer to asbestos-related disease patients travel and lodging assistance as necessary—
(i) to accommodate the maximum number of patients practicable; and
(ii) to serve a number of patients at the center sufficient to conduct a meaningful clinical trial

(D) seek to collaborate with at least 1 medical center of the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide research benefits and care to veterans who have suffered excessively from asbestos-related diseases, particularly mesothelioma; and

(E) coordinate the research and treatment efforts of the center (including specimen sharing and use of common infomatics) with other entities included in –
(i) the Network; and
(ii) the National Virtual Mesothelioma Registry and Tissue Bank.

(3) PERIOD OF INCLUSION.—A center selected by the Director of NIH under this subsection shall be included in the Network for—
(A) the 1-year period beginning on the date of selection of the center; or
(B) such longer period as the Director of NIH determines to be appropriate.

(d) GRANTS.—The Director of NIH shall provide to each center selected for inclusion in the Network under subsection (c) for the fiscal year a grant in an amount equal to $1,000,000 to support the detection, prevention, treatment, and cure of asbestos-related diseases, with particular emphasis on malignant mesothelioma.

(e) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.—There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section $10,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2008 through 2012.

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