Mesothelioma Eligible for $15 Million of Research Funding in FY2013 Continuing Resolution

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The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation is proud to announce that, as a direct result of its advocacy efforts, in 2013 mesothelioma will again be eligible for funding through the Department of Defense.

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With the looming threat of sequestration, we are gratified to see the Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program funded and available to mesothelioma researchers.

The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (Meso Foundation) applauds Congress for including the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program (PRCRP) in the FY2013 Continuing Resolution despite threats of sequestration and cuts in funding. As a direct result of the Meso Foundation’s advocacy efforts, according to a statement from the House Appropriations Committee, mesothelioma will be included as a disease eligible to compete for the allocated $15 million of this crucial research funding. The Continuing Resolution was signed by the President today, and the PRCRP review process will take place later this year.

The Meso Foundation advocated on Capitol Hill and mobilized its base to do the same, to ensure that mesothelioma research remains a contender for this funding. Meso Foundation’s Executive Director, Mary Hesdorffer, a nurse practitioner with over 16 years of clinical experience in mesothelioma treatment, testified before the Senate Appropriations Committee in July about the unequivocal need for federal funding of mesothelioma research and the documented tie to military service.

“With the looming threat of sequestration, we are gratified to see the Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program funded and available to mesothelioma researchers,” said Ms. Hesdorffer. “We desperately need better treatments for this horrific disease.”

For decades, the need for research to develop effective treatments for mesothelioma patients has been ignored, obscured by the legal, economic and political aspects of asbestos, resulting in only one, marginally-effective, FDA-approved treatment. In 2008, for the first time ever, the Meso Foundation successfully argued for the inclusion of mesothelioma among diseases eligible for funding through the DoD, based on the disproportionate rate by which military personnel are affected by mesothelioma. Since 2008, the DoD has funded $8.8 million in mesothelioma research, including a vaccine-based clinical trial.

The Meso Foundation has independently funded over $8.2 million in peer-reviewed mesothelioma research to date.

Mesothelioma is a malignant tumor of the lining of the lung, abdomen, or heart known to be caused by exposure to asbestos. Medical experts consider it one of the most aggressive and deadly of all cancers. Approximately 3,000 Americans are diagnosed with mesothelioma every year and an estimated one-third were exposed while serving in the Navy or working in Navy shipyards .

The Meso Foundation is the only 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating mesothelioma and easing the suffering caused by it. The Meso Foundation actively seeks philanthropic support to fund peer-reviewed mesothelioma research; provide patient support services and education; and advocate Congress for increased federal funding for mesothelioma research. The Meso Foundation is the only non-government funder of peer reviewed scientific research to establish more effective treatments for mesothelioma and, ultimately, a cure for this rare and aggressive cancer. To date, the Foundation has awarded over $8.2 million to research.

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