Today's Paper News Sports Features Business Opinion LEARNS Guide Newsletters Obits Games Archive Notices Core Values

Frazier updates cancer projects

by Eplunus Colvin | September 17, 2023 at 2:34 a.m.
Pine Bluff Councilwoman Lanette Frazier speaks during a Sept. 5 council meeting. (Pine Bluff Commercial/I.C. Murrell)

The Public Health and Welfare Committee met Thursday via Zoom to discuss several cancer initiatives.

Chairwoman Lanette Frazier said she has been participating in political strategy and webinars through the White House and received several public health and welfare updates.

According to Frazier, President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden announced new actions federal agencies are taking to advance the mission of the White House Cancer Moonshot, as well as new commitments the Biden-Harris Administration has secured from non-governmental organizations and the private sector to deliver progress on the mission to end cancer.

"Two hundred 40 million dollars in additional investment this year will be used to accelerate new ways to prevent, detect, treat and survive cancer," said Frazier. "The Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) will award an additional $240 million to researchers and innovators this year for cancer-related projects."

Frazier added this includes projects to develop new tools to detect cancers early when they are most treatable, produce innovative approaches to visualize cancer cells during surgery to improve patient outcomes through the Precision Surgical Interventions program, pursue new treatment approaches like directing bacteria to kill cancer inside the body, and design devices that could deliver treatments directly to cancer cells to treat tumors more effectively.

"They are going to bring cancer clinical trials to underserved communities," said Frazier of the new nationwide health innovation network, which will drive research progress. Frazier said the ARPA-H is announcing that its new ARPANET-H, a nationwide health innovation network to tackle pressing health challenges, will be deployed to accelerate clinical trials for cancer and other diseases.

Frazier said this new network will enable historically underserved populations to actively participate in clinical trials, improve equity in access to innovative cancer interventions and accelerate the agency's work to drive breakthroughs in preventing, detecting, and treating cancer and other diseases.

"There are also new investments to reduce the impact of menthol and other flavored commercial tobacco products in communities that experience health disparities," said Frazier. "The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is announcing awardees of a new five-year, $15 million program to help increase adoption, implementation and enforcement of policies prohibiting the sale of menthol and other flavored tobacco products and increase awareness of cessation services and coverage options among populations experiencing tobacco-related disparities in order to accelerate smoking cessation."

Fraizer said there are also new smoking cessation resources for underserved communities, including American Indian, Alaska Native and Black communities to reduce cancer health disparities, and a new pilot program to increase veteran engagement in tobacco use treatment.

"The HealthWell Foundation will provide more than $300 million in 2024 to underinsured oncology patients to offset out-of-pocket medication costs," said Frazier. "I think that is so phenomenal because that out-of-pocket expense that citizens encounter can be so phenomenal when it comes to cancer treatment, so I am grateful that they are able to do that."

Frazier said this will enable patients to adhere to prescribed treatment regimens and improve survival. In 2024, HealthWell will also start providing financial assistance to address disparities in oncology clinical trials and to support oncology caregivers -- self-funding $500,000 for the program.

"Those are just a few programs and funding that they are going to have in regards to combating cancer and those who are survivors of cancer," she said.

In other business, the Pine Bluff Cemetery is trying to become a site for the Pine Bluff Downtown Historic District.

Frazier said the Pine Bluff Historic District Commission does not have its own registry but can write a letter of support to the state.

"It's a lot of history that we have in our cemetery," said Frazier.

Print Headline: Frazier updates cancer projects


Sponsor Content