In the latest iteration of its budget bill, Congress included $50 million for the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program (PRCRP). The bill will be voted on in the House on Friday, and in the Senate shortly thereafter.
If the bill does pass, this level of funding will be consistent with funding for fiscal year 2015, which was also set at $50 million. Prior to this, in 2014, the program was awarded only $25 million.
“The Meso Foundation is working with our advocacy partners to thank Congress for including this provision, and ensuring that it passes both chambers of Congress,” said Melinda Kotzian, the chief executive officer for the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation.
According to the DoD’s website, the Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program (PRCRP) was established to support innovative and competitive research in cancers specifically designated by Congress as relevant to military service members and their families. Members of the military are exposed to hazardous environments due to the nature of their service and deployments and, thus, are at risk for the development of different types of cancers.
The Meso Foundation was instrumental in making mesothelioma an eligible topic within the DoD’s research programs. The first ever DoD award for mesothelioma occurred in 2008 when one investigator obtained over $1.3 million for research. A total of $11.96 million has been awarded to mesothelioma research through the Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program and the Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program, both divisions of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program administered by the Department of Defense.