2011 DoD Mesothelioma Funding Announced, Meso Foundation Testifies for 2012 Funding

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While the Department of Defense announced the 2011 grant cycle, the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation continued its fight for additional research funding by testifying in Congress to request inclusion of mesothelioma in the 2012 grant cycle.

Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation Logo

Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation Logo

Almost 3,000 Americans die each year of mesothelioma, and one study found that one third of patients were exposed on U.S. Navy ships or shipyards.

Last week, the Department of Defense (DoD) released the program announcement for the Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program (PRCRP) for the 2011 grant cycle. This will be only the fourth cycle to include mesothelioma as an eligible disease. Mesothelioma was included in the Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program in 2008, 2009 and 2010. It was moved to the Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program in 2011. Detailed program announcement, submission deadlines, and informational documents are available at http://www.curemeso.org/dod.

The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (Meso Foundation) played a critical role in making mesothelioma an eligible topic within the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program. The first ever DoD award for mesothelioma occurred in 2008 when one investigator obtained over $1.3 million for research. Four DoD grants were awarded at the end of 2009, and an additional 2.6 million was awarded in 2010 for a total of approximately 6.8 million awarded to mesothelioma research.

While this is momentous progress for mesothelioma research, the Meso Foundation continues to advocate for increased federal funding for mesothelioma and has, in fact, already testified in Congress for inclusion of mesothelioma in fiscal year 2012.

On June 22, 2011, Mary Hesdorffer, MS, APRN, nurse practitioner and medical liaison for the Meso Foundation, testified before the United States Senate Committee on Appropriations- Subcommittee on Defense at their Fiscal Year 2012 Appropriations Outside Witness Testimony Hearing.

Ms. Hesdorffer explained the need for sustained and increased funding for mesothelioma through the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program, and stressed the strong link between mesothelioma and military service. She asked that a dedicated funding stream of $5 million be appropriated for mesothelioma through the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs, because mesothelioma disproportionally affects American servicemen and women and their families.

“Almost 3,000 Americans die each year of mesothelioma, and one study found that one third of patients were exposed on U.S. Navy ships or shipyards. That is 1,000 U.S. veterans and shipyard workers per year, lost through service to country, just as if they had been on a battlefield,” said Ms. Hesdorffer.

The Defense Subcommittee will be crafting the Defense Appropriations bill for FY 2012 in the next month, hopefully before the August Congressional recess.

ABOUT THE MESOTHELIOMA APPLIED RESEARCH FOUNDATION
The Meso Foundation is the leading organization dedicated to funding peer-reviewed mesothelioma research, providing patient support services and education, and advocating for increased federal funding for research. Mesothelioma funding, per death, has historically been extremely low, and even as recently as 2007, the NCI reported that mesothelioma receives as little as 9 times less funding than other cancers. The Meso Foundation was founded in 2000 to address this imbalance and since then has independently funded over $7.1 million in peer-reviewed mesothelioma research. More information is available at http://www.curemeso.org.

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