The Senate Appropriations Committee recently approved the fiscal year 2015 Defense Appropriations bill, earmarking $50 million for the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program (PRCRP) — a doubling of the previous budget. Melanoma is one of the nine types of cancer that are eligible to be researched under the new funding. The choice of the nine cancer types are especially meant to benefit U.S. service members, who are disproportionately affected by certain types of cancer — melanoma among them. However, the research will also come to positively impact regular U.S. citizens with melanoma as well, as military-funded research often finds its way into civilian healthcare.
“Investment in melanoma research will support the entire research community and capitalize on the momentum of recent research and treatment breakthroughs,” explained Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA) president and CEO Wendy Selig. “We must have a sustained investment of resources and a committed focus from the best and brightest minds to ensure that we can expedite more concepts through the clinical development system and through the regulatory process so patients can benefit from the progress.” The increase in funding from the PRCRP will also be a way to attenuate the budget cuts at the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH).
The Melanoma Research Alliance and the Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF), two organizations committed to enhancing the availability of breakthrough therapies for people with melanoma, have already applauded the funding increase, as well as the Senate Appropriations Committee’s acknowledgment that there is an urgent necessity to invest resources and talent in breakthrough projects aimed to develop novel and more efficient treatment options for the disease.
“The MRF and MRA jointly applaud the Senate Appropriations Committee for expanding its protection for those who are sacrificing to protect us,” said the executive director of the MRF Tim Turnham. “The MRF has worked with many melanoma patients who were or currently are in the military and we see the impact this disease has on their lives. The increasing incidence of melanoma among service personnel is not surprising, given the undeniable link between melanoma and exposure to UV radiation.”
Being the largest independent organization devoted to melanoma, MRF is committed to the support of medical research on effective treatments and a cure for the disease, as well as educating patients and physicians about prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. The MRA is a public charity organization supported by Debra and Leon Black, which has granted more than $60 million to melanoma research. Both institutions announced that they will continue their work with researchers to assure an efficient allocation of funds for research projects.