The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation is proud to announce that, as a direct result of its advocacy efforts, in 2012 mesothelioma will again be eligible for funding through the Department of Defense.
The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (Meso Foundation) announced that in 2012, as a direct result of its advocacy efforts, mesothelioma will be included on the list of diseases eligible to compete for research funding from the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program (PRCRP). The DoD Appropriations Act, which passed in late December, allocated $12.8 million for distribution among eligible diseases through the PRCRP.
The peer-review process will begin later this year. The 2011 review is now underway and three of its reviewers are mesothelioma patients nominated by the Meso Foundation and accepted by the DoD.
The Meso Foundation advocated all year on Capitol Hill and it mobilized its base to do the same, to ensure that mesothelioma research remains a contender for this funding. In July, Meso Foundation’s medical liaison, Mary Hesdorffer, nurse practitioner with over 14 years of clinical experience in mesothelioma treatment, testified in Congress about the unequivocal need for federal funding of mesothelioma research.
“Almost 3,000 Americans die each year of mesothelioma, and one study found that one third of patients were exposed on U.S. Navy ships or shipyards. That is 1,000 U.S. veterans and shipyard workers per year, lost through service to country, just as if they had been on a battlefield,” said Ms. Hesdorffer.
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.
“We have been working at full speed to accelerate treatment discoveries, which are urgently needed by mesothelioma patients. DoD funding is critically important to ignite research interest in mesothelioma,” said Meso Foundation’s executive director, Kathy Wiedemer.
Since 2008, the DoD has funded $5.1 million in mesothelioma research, including a vaccine-based clinical trial.
The Meso Foundation has independently funded over $7.1 million in peer-reviewed mesothelioma research and will be announcing new research awards at the end of January.
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.