We 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:
genetic cancer research
listeria vaccine for cancer
melanoma and other skin cancers
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.
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.