Benninghoff Convenes Cancer Caucus to Discuss State Investment in Cancer Research
9/30/2015
HARRISBURG – Today in Harrisburg, Rep. Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin) convened a meeting of the bipartisan House Cancer Caucus to discuss the history of the Tobacco Settlement Fund and Pennsylvania’s success using those dollars to fund groundbreaking cancer research in the Commonwealth.

“Historically, Pennsylvania lawmakers have made the decision to invest all tobacco settlement funds for health-related initiatives,” Benninghoff said. “With more budget demands than ever on state-allocated dollars, I believe it is important to educate current members about the fund’s intentions and previous investments, as well as the significant advancements made in cancer research because of Pennsylvania’s consistent commitment.”

As a result of the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) of 1998, major tobacco companies were required to contribute funds to ease states' burdens in caring for residents with tobacco-smoking-related illnesses. Each year Pennsylvania receives a portion of those funds.

In 2001, as authorized by the Pennsylvania Tobacco Settlement Act, the Department of Health (DOH) established a health research program, known as CURE, to allocate a portion of those funds for the purpose of discovering new scientific knowledge that can be applied toward improving the health of all Pennsylvanians.

During today’s informational meeting, 29 legislators met with representatives from various Pennsylvania organizations and institutions that receive CURE funding for cancer research, including the University of Pittsburgh, Penn State College of Medicine and The Wistar Institute.

“Today, we heard firsthand how predictable, stable and flexible research funding has attracted world-class researchers to Pennsylvania, enhanced the strength of the state’s academic-medical sector, and allowed for groundbreaking and pivotal exploratory research, which might not have otherwise been funded,” Benninghoff said. “Pennsylvanians can be proud to know that the legislature has made cancer research a priority of this Commonwealth, and that because of that, major discoveries and advancements continue to be made right here in our backyard.”

During the first 13 years of the CURE program (fiscal years 2001- 13), the DOH awarded $797.5 million in CURE program grants, which supported 1,933 research and infrastructure projects.

Benninghoff serves as chairman of the bipartisan House Cancer Caucus, which is comprised of a group of legislators from across the Commonwealth committed to advancing cancer-combatting initiatives.

Representative Kerry Benninghoff
171st Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Morgan Wagner
717.260.6281
mwagner@pahousegop.com
KerryBenninghoff.com / Facebook.com/RepBenninghoff
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