Press Releases

House Passes Wexton’s Bipartisan Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act 2.0 to Increase Funding for Lifesaving Childhood Cancer Research

Washington, DC – Today, the House of Representatives passed Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton’s (D-VA) bipartisan Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act 2.0 which would nearly double funding for lifesaving research of treatments and cures for childhood cancer research. The bill has 110 bipartisan cosponsors.

The bill is named in honor of Gabriella Miller, a Virginia-10 resident who was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor and passed away in 2013 at age 10. Congresswoman Wexton has worked closely with Ellyn Miller, Gabriella’s mother, to introduce and advance the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act 2.0. Ellyn and her husband, Mark, founded Smashing Walnuts in 2013 to advocate and raise awareness about childhood cancer. Wexton welcomed the Miller family to the Capitol to celebrate the bill’s passage.

“I’m so proud that today the House has passed my bipartisan Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act 2.0 which will deliver a transformative boost in funding for lifesaving treatments and cures for kids battling cancer – a top priority for me this Congress,” said Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton. “This bill nearly doubles funding for the Kids First program, enabling doctors and scientists to step up their critical research, build on the great progress this program has made, and ultimately save more young lives. It’s been an honor to work closely with Gabriella’s mother, Ellyn, to advance this bipartisan legislation, and I’m committed to doing all I can to get this to the President’s desk.”

Wexton’s legislation would reauthorize the Gabriella Miller Kids First Pediatric Research Program program, which is set to expire next year, for an additional five years and increase funding to $25 million annually – nearly double the current amount.

Since the original Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act was signed into law in 2014, the Kids First program has made progress towards understanding childhood cancer and disease. The law established the Ten-Year Pediatric Research Initiative Fund and authorized $12.6 million in annual funds for childhood disease research. It has also led to the founding of the Gabriella Miller Kids First Data Resource Center—a comprehensive data resource for research and patient communities meant to advance discoveries.

Despite this progress, cancer remains the number one cause of disease-related death in children age 14 and younger in the U.S., and it is estimated that more than 10,000 children in the U.S. under the age of 15 will be diagnosed with cancer this year. Many children with cancer do not respond well to conventional treatments, which have resulted in long-term health and disability issues for patients, even if the cancer is successfully cured. Yet, only 4% of the government’s funding for cancer research is specifically directed towards the development of treatments and cures for childhood cancer and other rare diseases.

Wexton delivered a speech on the House floor today in support of this bipartisan legislation, which can be viewed here.

The text of the bill can be found here.