Sep. 13, 2019

HARRISBURG – Reps. Jason Ortitay (R-Washington/Allegheny) and Tim O’Neal (R-Washington) have secured a $100,000 state grant to allow UPMC to offer tumor and germline sequencing to patients with Ewing sarcoma and their families in western Pennsylvania.

There are no known environmental factors that cause Ewing sarcoma. In recent years, it has been determined that some patients with Ewing sarcoma also have germline mutations in genes that function to repair DNA in cells when they are damaged. This research will delve deeper into this topic. The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services grant was part of the 2019-20 state budget.

“The number of Ewing sarcoma cases in Washington County is concerning,” Ortitay said. “I’m hopeful this research will help determine a cause of this type of cancer so that it can be prevented or better treatments developed.”

“The meeting Canonsburg Mayor David Rhome and I hosted earlier this year regarding a number of recent cancer cases in the Canon-McMillan School District left many unanswered questions,” O’Neal said. “I’m optimistic this research will help identify a cause or causes of Ewing sarcoma and related cancers so that parents will no longer have to watch their children suffer.”

O’Neal and Ortitay are hopeful that this is just the start of funding for this rare form of cancer. O'Neal is the author of House Resolution 483, which urges Congress to direct the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to conduct a comprehensive study on the causes of Ewing sarcoma.

The 46th Legislative District includes Collier and South Fayette townships and Bridgeville, Heidelberg, McDonald and Oakdale boroughs in Allegheny County. It also encompasses Canton, Cecil, Mt. Pleasant, Robinson and Smith townships and Burgettstown, McDonald and Midway boroughs in Washington County.

The 48th Legislative District in Washington County includes the city of Washington; Chartiers, North Franklin, North Strabane and South Strabane townships; and Canonsburg, East Washington and Houston boroughs.

Representative Jason Ortitay
46th Legislative District
Representative Tim O’Neal
48th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Tracy Polovick
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