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Childhood cancer in New Jersey is getting more attention, funding

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New Jersey now has its own fund dedicated specifically to childhood cancer research, with law signed by Governor Phil Murphy in September.

Another new law gives the fund $ 5 million to get things started.

Medical professionals praise the move, suggesting that the cause was historically underfunded compared to more common cancers like breast or prostate cancer.

“The good news is that most children with cancer are cured, but for us in pediatrics, most of it is not good enough,” said Dr. Peter Cole, director of the Children’s Hematology, Oncology and Cell Therapy Program at Bristol Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick.

One of the new laws allows taxpayers to participate in childhood cancer research through gross income tax returns.

According to Cole, the healing rates of the past few decades demonstrate the strength of in-depth research in this area. A child diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia 50 years ago, the most common form of childhood cancer, for example, had about a 10% chance of surviving five years later, Cole said. Today, a child with the same type of leukemia has an almost 90% chance of recovery.

Cole said additional research is needed to further improve cure rates and improve treatments so that they cause fewer side effects in children.

“Even in the children who are cured, the treatments themselves cause pathetic acute toxicity, and in many cases the treatment causes permanent organ damage,” said Cole.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, New Jersey has the third highest childhood cancer rate in the country.

Contact the reporter Dino Flammia at [email protected]

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