WASHINGTON, DC (October 18, 2018) Hep B United strongly endorses the introduction of the Liver Illness Visibility, Education and Research (LIVER) Act of 2018. Introduced by Representative Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), the bill takes bold steps to increase investments in research, prevention, and awareness activities to address hepatitis B, which kills up to 1 million people a year, and liver cancer, which continues to grow in incidence and is the 2nd deadliest cancer worldwide. As hepatitis B is the major cause of liver cancer, research efforts to cure these two diseases are linked.
The LIVER Act will authorize $100 million a year for five years for prevention and awareness grants at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and authorize $45 million a year for five years for hepatitis B and liver cancer research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The bill includes significant provisions that will support and accelerate liver cancer and hepatitis B research, and will:
- Create new CDC grant programs for liver cancer prevention activities such as screenings, vaccination, and treatment for liver cancer, hepatitis B and hepatitis C;
- Create new CDC grant program for liver cancer awareness activities, including production and distribution of public informational materials targeted towards communities at a high risk for liver disease;
- Direct the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to issue targeted calls for proposal, including a call for a new liver Specialized Program of Research Excellence for primary liver cancer, and have those proposals reviewed by a new Special Emphasis Panel;
- Direct the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and NIDDK to issue targeted calls for proposals to focus on research questions identified by the hepatitis B research community; and,
- Direct NIH to establish an inter-institute working group to coordinate hepatitis B and liver cancer research.
“Hep B United applauds Congresswoman Velazquez for her leadership in addressing this very serious public health problem,” said Chari Cohen, DrPH, MPH, vice president of public health and programs at the Hepatitis B Foundation and co-chair of Hep B United. “We urge Congress to move this bill forward to provide much needed federal investment in liver disease awareness, prevention, and research. ”
Access the bill text here.
About Hepatitis B: Hepatitis B is the most common serious liver infection in the world. It is caused by the hepatitis B virus that attacks and injures the liver. Each year up to 1 million people die from hepatitis B worldwide despite the fact that it is preventable and treatable. Hepatitis B is a “silent epidemic” because most people do not have symptoms when they are newly infected or chronically infected. Thus, they can unknowingly spread the virus to others and continue the silent spread of hepatitis B. For people who are chronically infected but don’t have any symptoms, their liver is still being silently damaged which can develop into serious liver disease such as cirrhosis or liver cancer.
About Hep B United: Hep B United is a national coalition co-chaired by the Hepatitis B Foundation and the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations dedicated to reducing the health disparities associated with hepatitis B by increasing awareness, screening, vaccination, and linkage to care for high-risk communities across the United States. To learn more, visit www.hepbunited.org.
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