H.R. 733: Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act of 2012, as amended

H.R. 733

Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act of 2012, as amended

Sen. Bernard Sanders

September 19, 2012 (112th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact

Floor Situation

On Wednesday, September 19, the House is scheduled to consider H.R. 733, the Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act of 2012, as amended, under a suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage.  This legislation was introduced by Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) on February 16, 2011, and referred to the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, which held a markup and approved the legislation by voice vote on September 11, 2012.

Bill Summary

The Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act of 2012 would amend the Public Health Service Act to direct the National Cancer Institute to establish a scientific framework that will guide research efforts on recalcitrant cancers. Within 6 months of enactment, the Director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) would be required to identify two or more cancers that meet the established criteria—a 5-year survival rate of less than 20 percent and a death rate of at least 30,000. For each initial cancer identified, the Director will convene a working group that will develop the scientific framework not later than 18 months after the date of enactment. In addition, the scientific framework will be reviewed and updated within 5 years of its development. The Director may at any time identify other recalcitrant cancers, defined as cancers with survival rates of below 50 percent, in which to conduct a scientific framework.


According to the Subcommittee, recalcitrant cancers, like those that develop in the pancreas, liver, and ovaries, hide in tissue and are difficult to detect. With their unique molecular structure, these cancers spread under the radar of traditional diagnostic tools. When they are eventually diagnosed, the damage is substantial, the treatments are ineffective, and the prognosis is poor. This bill originally focused solely on pancreatic cancer. A substitute amendment, adopted by voice vote, expanded the focus to all recalcitrant cancers.


There was no Congressional Budget Office (CBO) cost estimate available for this bill.