Good News! FY2013 Continuing Resolution Includes Opportunity for Mesothelioma Research

obamaWe are very excited that the Fiscal Year 2013 Continuing Resolution, signed by President Obama on Tuesday includes funding for the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program’s (CDMRP) Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program (PRCRP).  This program has funded $8.8 million of mesothelioma research to date as a direct result of the Meso Foundation’s advocacy efforts.  The PRCRP includes mesothelioma on the list of diseases eligible to compete for the allocated $15 million.

What exactly does that mean?

This is great news.  With the threats of sequestration and the lack of an actual appropriations bill this year, we were very scared that this program would not be funded at all, thus no new grants would be awarded in 2013.  Now, there is $15 million available for new grants.

Is this an increase in funding?

In FY2012, the PRCRP was funded at $12.8 million, so while the $15 million provided here is an increase, we still consider it level funding given inflation.  Also, there are ten topic areas eligible to apply for the funding this year rather than nine, so there is greater competition for the funding.

The ten areas that are eligible to apply for the funding:

blood cancers

colorectal cancer

genetic cancer research

kidney cancer

listeria vaccine for cancer

melanoma and other skin cancers

mesothelioma

pancreatic cancer

pediatric brain tumors

neuroblastoma (new addition this year)

How did the Meso community help secure this funding?

The Meso Foundation advocated on Capitol Hill and mobilized the community to do the same to ensure that mesothelioma research remains a contender for this funding.   Meso Foundation’s Executive Director, Mary Hesdorffer testified before the Senate Appropriations Committee in July about the unequivocal need for federal funding of mesothelioma research and the documented tie to Naval service.

What next?

We asked for $5 million in funding designated for mesothelioma, what we got was level funding where mesothelioma researchers “compete” with researchers from nine other issue areas for the allotted $15 million in grant funding.  While we do want to celebrate this little victory, it is not exactly what we wanted.  We have already started making the same request of $5 million for FY2014 on Capitol Hill.  We are hoping to see $5 million specifically allocated only for mesothelioma research.  This would be the first federal funding designated for mesothelioma.

What can I do? 

Join us in advocating for mesothelioma research funding by becoming an ambassador.  Click here to learn more.

Learn more about the CDMRP and the PRCRP by clicking here to visit their website.

The Symposium is Over…what now?

melindaThe BAP 1 gene is now a part of your vernacular, you gave and received hugs of love and support and your voice is hoarse from screaming Don’t Stop Believing.  The Meso Foundation’s International Symposium is now officially over. But now what?

The hope, support and work that the Meso Foundation provides continues all year long.  Now is the time to take that energy and get involved.    Here are a few ways to stay active.

Join Facebook:  All the latest news on the Meso Foundation is posted on the CureMeso page.  You can also e-mail us at info@curemeso.org and get invited to participate in one of our private groups for patients, caregivers, and bereaved.  These private groups allow for people to talk freely about the mesothelioma journey.  You’ll read stories of hope, good (sometime cheesy) jokes and be inspired.

Become an ambassador:  With sequestration in effect, it has never been more important to have your voice heard on Capitol Hill.  Check out the Advocacy Action Center to write your delegates to get them to pass an Appropriations Bill for 2013.  If this does not happen there will be no funding for mesothelioma research through the Congressional Directed Medical Research Program in 2013.    E-mail them today and follow-up with a phone call.

Plan a Fundraiser:  You heard from researchers around the world who are continuing to find new advances in mesothelioma.  We cannot let the momentum stop.  Start a letter writing campaign, plan a walk, plan a sports tournament, or cook dinner for your friends and ask for a donation.  The possibilities are limitless.  Need help?  Contact our Fundraising Coordinator at eruble@curemeso.org.

Donate:  The Meso Foundation is here to educate and support, fund research and advocate.  We cannot do the work we do without donors like you.  Remember that all donations are tax deductible.  www.curemeso.org/donate.

And most importantly, Stay in Touch.  The Meso Foundation wants to hear from you and how we can assist you.  The meso community is a family so check in once in a while.  We are here to help you in any way we can.

Putting a National Spotlight on Asbestos

danger-asbestosA major investigation appearing on the front page of Monday’s Wall Street
Journal looks into fraudulent asbestos claims and the multi-billion dollar
mesothelioma litigation industry. (You can read an abstract of the article
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323864304578318611662911912.html?mod=WSJ_hps_MIDDLENexttoWhatsNewsTop. Full access requires a subscription.)

As a science-based organization and the largest independent source of
nonprofit funding for mesothelioma research, we do not advise on legal
issues. Nor do we provide referrals. As a foundation we firmly believe in
full adherence to ethical guidelines when addressing the impact of
mesothelioma. Our mission is based solely on putting patients first, and
mobilizing as many resources as possible to fund independent, peer-reviewed
research projects.

Asbestos liability is very complex and difficult to decipher, and it has
skewed the public’s understanding of mesothelioma, which impacts thousands
of individuals, regardless of age or background. But, just as we saw at
our annual symposium, there are new victories in the field of mesothelioma
- both in the labs and the clinics – that give us a lot to hope for. We
are finally very close to seeing treatments based upon a personalized
medicine approach having identified unique targets and genetic
alterations. I have never seen this much excitement among the medical
professionals who have dedicated their careers to finding a cure for
mesothelioma.

And while the economic, legal and political aspects of asbestos have never
received national attention like this before, it is our hope that the
national spotlight on this issue will help us lead to finding a truly
effective life-prolonging treatment for mesothelioma patients, and a cure
for this aggressive and neglected cancer. This important article, which
comes on the heels of our annual gathering, gives us a renewed sense of
hope and purpose.

Multidisciplinary Panels on Malignant Mesothelioma at the Meso Foundation’s 2013 Symposium

IMG_1750On Friday, March 8, world’s mesothelioma experts came together at the Meso Foundation’s annual Symposium to discuss mesothelioma treatment, research and patient outcomes. These multidisciplinary panels were organized specifically to promote interaction between clinicians and researchers to achieve the best possible outcome for mesothelioma patients. The live stream broadcast of the event is offered free-of-charge and continues until 10:30 PM Pacific time on Friday, March 8.

IMG_1756The panels, which included Michael Becich, MD, PhD; V. Courtney Broaddus, MD; Michele Carbone, MD, PhD; Marc de Perrot, MD, MSc, FRCSC; David Ettinger, MD; Hedy Lee Kindler, MD; Robert Kratzke, MD; Lee Krug, MD; Charles Simone, II, MD; and Andrew Todd, PhD, were moderated by Meso Foundation’s executive director and nurse practitioner Mary Hesdorffer.

The 10th annual Meso Foundation Symposium is a two-day conference for the entire meso community. This is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to learn about the disease and its treatment directly from top experts in mesothelioma, in easy to understand presentations, small-group interactions and even one-on-one conversations. In addition to the latest medical information, the Symposium addresses topics and issues relevant to all attendees, including patients, caregivers and those who have lost loved ones to this disease.

The Meso Foundation Symposium also offers plenty of time to meet others facing similar challenges and allows participants to socialize with the entire meso community. More information is available at www.curemeso.org/symposium.