Advocacy, Education & Lobbying

SITC Proposed Language on NCI Report Accepted by Federal Leaders

In June 2018, the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate Appropriations Committees accepted report language proposed by the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) urging the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to prioritize research and education on the underlying mechanisms of cancer immunotherapy toxicities and training for young and mid-career investigators.

The language provided by SITC, which can be found in the House's NCI report on pages 52-53, is provided below:

“Immunotherapy.—The Committee continues to be encouraged by new breakthroughs in cancer immunotherapy, built upon decades of NCI-funded research on the immune system and the ways in which it can be harnessed to find and destroy tumors. This new wave of treatment options has the potential to revolutionize treatment for a growing number of cancers. Yet much remains unknown about how immunotherapy works on a cellular level, and especially why such treatments are successful for some patients, but not for others. Furthermore, some patients experience side effects that are far different than those associated with chemotherapy. Without a better understanding of the immune system’s response to cancer, the knowledge of how cancer escapes immune-based therapy, the capacity to quickly recognize and manage side effects, and the ability to predict which patients are most likely to respond well to therapy, further advances in this field will be slowed. Therefore, the Committee urges NCI to continue to prioritize basic research on the mechanisms of action involved in immunotherapy, including a focus on tumor resistance to immunotherapy and the underlying mechanisms of cancer immunotherapy toxicities. The Committee also recognizes the need for more basic and clinical researchers who have the necessary education to develop new breakthroughs in immunotherapy. The Committee encourages NCI to continue to support training for both young and mid-career researchers interested in immunotherapy.”

SITC Recommendations on Cancer Immunotherapy Clinical Trials Included in House Appropriations Bill

Report language proposed by SITC on cancer immunotherapy clinical trials was included in the Fiscal Year 2019 Agriculture Appropriations Bill by the U.S. House of Representatives.

Approved on May 16, 2018 by the House Appropriations Committee, the federal bill “funds important agricultural and food programs and services, including food and medical product safety, animal and plant health programs, rural development and farm services, agricultural trade, financial marketplace oversight, and nutrition programs,” according to the Committee.

The following is the SITC language on cancer immunotherapy clinical trials:

The Committee is aware of the remarkable promise of cancer immunotherapy and encouraged by the FDA’s recent approval of new treatments that harness this approach to fighting cancer. More than 1,500 immuno-oncology clinical trials are in some stage of development. As more patients turn to immune-based treatments, and more clinical trials are conducted to evaluate them, understanding how to recognize and manage the side effects of cancer immunotherapies will become increasingly important. Currently, however, standard parameters for reporting cancer immunotherapy-related adverse events in clinical trials are lacking, and this makes comparisons and management across studies challenging. The Committee, therefore, urges the FDA to work with the research community and the pharmaceutical industry to develop standardized templates for reporting toxicities in cancer immunotherapy clinical trials.

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If you have partnership or policy-related questions, please contact SITC staff at SITCExecOffice@sitcancer.org.

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