DoD appropriations bill has meso funding request

7 May 2008 by under Events, News, Research/Treatment

In March, I posted that for the first time the Department of Defense (DoD) had appropriated funding for mesothelioma research as a priority within the department’s Medical Research Program, thanks in most part to the lobbying efforts of the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (MARF, Meso Foundation). Today, TheHill.com reports that MARF, with the backing of more than a dozen senators, is pushing for continuing and increasing funds for mesothelioma research in the 2009 defense appropriations bill.

In the 2008 defense appropriations bill, Congress designated $50 million for the mesothelioma research as part of the Pentagon’s peer-reviewed program.

TheHill.com points out that supporters of the initiative for continued funding in the 2009 bill argue that “at least one third of the people suffering from mesothelioma … have either been in the Navy or worked in Navy shipyards across the country” where they were exposed to asbestos. Much of the exposure in the Navy cases, the report states, happened between World War II and the Vietnam War, when asbestos was used in shipyards and ships. For that reason, supporters push for federal funding for research.

TheHill.com writer Roxana Tiron reports that last month several senators sent a letter to the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Defense panel in support of the continued funding. The letter stated, in part, “Funding through the Department of Defense appropriations bill is an important demonstration of our nation’s commitment to addressing the tragedy of mesothelioma and its disproportionate impact on those who serve our country.”

Among the bill’s supporters are Sens. (D-Mont.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), who have been leading the charge to ban asbestos and secure more funding for mesothelioma research. The Ban Asbestos bill, introduced by Murray and passed in the Senate last October, includes $10 million per year in funding for cancer research. The companion bill in the House has not yet been passed.

Also among the supporters for the 2009 appropriations funding for meso are Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and John Ensign (R-Nev.).

The Meso Foundation funds approximately $1 million a year for research worldwide. The organization will hold its annual three-day symposium in Washington, D.C., starting on June 26, expecting more than 100 grassroots supporters to meet with their congressional representatives. For more information about this event, visit MARF online.

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