Department of Defense Awards Funds for Interstitial Cystitis Research

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The Interstitial Cystitis Association (ICA) successfully advocated to Congress so that interstitial cystitis (IC) submissions are eligible for funding through the Peer-Reviewed Medical Research Program (PRMRP) Department of Defense (DOD) funding stream. As a result, Dr. Planey is eligible to receive up to $750,000 for her IC research.

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Some patients can go years suffering with IC before they are diagnosed and properly treated. Dr. Planey’s research and her team’s work could speed a patient’s time to diagnosis and to earlier, possibly more effective, treatment.

The Interstitial Cystitis Association (ICA) successfully advocated to Congress so that interstitial cystitis (IC) submissions are eligible for funding through the Peer-Reviewed Medical Research Program (PRMRP) Department of Defense (DOD) funding stream. As a result, Dr. Sonia Planey from Commonwealth Medical College has been recommended to receive the Investigator-Initiated Award from the 2012 PRMRP funds. Dr. Planey is eligible to receive up to $750,000 for her IC research.

With this funding, Dr. Planey and her research team have the potential to develop a definitive diagnostic test for IC. For years, IC researchers have known that antiproliferative factor (APF), a glycopeptide discovered by Dr. Susan Keay, held promise as a diagnostic biomarker for IC. However, there have been no assays developed that are sensitive enough to measure its concentration in patient urine.

“My laboratory has developed a method that we believe will make possible the first measurements of APF in human urine and thus, overcome barriers that have prevented its validation in the past,” shared Dr. Planey. “Funding from the DoD is critical to the testing and refinement of this methodology, which we believe could eventually lead to a non-invasive, diagnostic test for IC.”

ICA educates Congress to ensure IC is listed as one of the conditions eligible for the Peer-Reviewed Medical Research Program DOD funding stream. Congress selects a list of diseases for consideration for PRMRP research funding each fiscal year. The past two years, ICA has testified to congress to ensure IC research receives funding. Due to the efforts of ICA’s leadership, IC was included on the list in FY12 which provided IC researchers the opportunity to apply.

“Some patients can go years suffering with IC before they are diagnosed and properly treated. Dr. Planey’s research and her team’s work could speed a patient’s time to diagnosis and to earlier, possibly more effective, treatment,” said Lee Claassen, executive director of the Interstitial Cystitis Association.

Dr. Planey is extremely grateful to have ICA Medical Advisory Board members, Drs. Susan Keay and Phil Hanno, as collaborators on this project. “I am also very much aware and appreciative of [ICA’s] advocacy efforts. The ICA was the first organization from which I sought funding five years ago for my ideas related to improving IC diagnosis, and although my proposal was not funded at that time, I was introduced to a remarkable organization that is truly passionate about and dedicated to improving the lives of those with IC and that serves as a valuable resource to me as a researcher in the field,” said Dr. Planey.

ICA’s leadership will continue to advocate for IC to be included on the list of diseases for consideration for PRMRP research funding, as receiving funding is critical to discovering of a cure for IC and finding better treatments for those who suffer from the disease.

About the Interstitial Cystitis Association: The Interstitial Cystitis Association (ICA) advocates for interstitial cystitis (IC) research dedicated to discovery of a cure and better treatments, raises awareness, and serves as a central hub for the healthcare providers, researchers and millions of patients who suffer with constant urinary urgency and frequency and extreme bladder pain called IC. The ICA was established in 1984 to put a face on all those affected by IC and remains today as the only non-profit health association solely dedicated to improving the quality of healthcare and lives of people living with IC. To fulfill its mission, the ICA pursues three core functions: advocacy, research, and education. http://www.ichelp.org

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Diana Cummins
Interstitial Cystitis Association
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