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Understanding "Military Relevance"

Congress directs the Department of Defense (DoD) to “select medical research projects of clear scientific merit and direct relevance to military health.” We have found that this language is interpreted broadly. The Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program (PRCRP) itself defines military relevance as research that is “responsive to the health care needs of the Armed Forces, family members of the Armed Forces, and the U.S. Veteran population.” Military relevance is a key feature of the Investigator-Initiated award and proposals must clearly explain the military relevance of the proposed research. A search of previously funded projects, and a review of their claims of military relevance, affirms that establishing this connection will not be difficult for mesothelioma investigators. The following section provides guidance and suggestions on demonstrating military relevance in your application.

Previously funded research varies significantly in the degree to which projects relate, serve or involve the military and veteran communities. A complete search of previously funded research can be found at the website for the DoD Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) at http://cdmrp.army.mil/search.aspx.

To establish military relevance, consider including the following references:

• There is an established history of asbestos exposure in military service, and elevated risk of mesothelioma in the military population. In fact, approximately one third of mesothelioma cases have been shown to involve Navy or shipyard exposures. (Butnor, Sharma, Sporn, Roggli: Malignant mesothelioma and occupational exposure to asbestos: an analysis of 1445 cases. Ann Occup Hyg 2002; 46: 150-153.)

• Reinforce that the military and veteran populations are at higher risk of developing mesothelioma due to service related exposures to asbestos. Given the long latency of the disease, even if exposures are reduced, mesothelioma will continue to affect the veteran and military population for decades to come.

• Collaborate and integrate your project with military and/or Veterans Affairs (VA) research laboratories and hospitals. Please note that it is strongly encouraged that you include letters of support and verification letter(s) if your submission includes the involvement of military recruits or subjects, military-controlled study materials, databases, and/or restricted facilities. If you need additional information on criteria for demonstrating military relevance, please contact the Meso Foundation directly at (703) 879-3797.