Fight Colorectal Cancer Secures DoD Funding for CRC Programs

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Advocates Gordon Cole and Steve Depp on the Hill in 2010 at Call-on Congress.

In 1992, the Department of Defense (DoD) began funding breast cancer research, as a result of Congressional lobbying by the breast cancer advocacy community. Since then, DoD has funded over 11,000 research grants with $7.5 billon; however, colorectal cancer research wasn’t in the list of supported research areas.

In 2009, the cornerstone of Fight Colorectal Cancer’s legislative agenda was to add colorectal cancer to the DoD Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program. Advocates at the 2009 Call on Congress asked their representatives to include colorectal cancer in the program. By June of 2009, our efforts convinced then-Representative Kay Granger to submit a request that would add colorectal cancer research to the program. We also had strong support from Representative Jim Moran. On December 19, 2009, Congress passed Public Law 111–118, which included colorectal cancer.

We didn’t stop there. We’ve worked to sustain the Peer Review Cancer Research Program during a time of drastic budget cuts – for example, then-president Carlea Bauman testified at a May 20, 2010 House appropriations hearing about the need for this funding, our advocates remind their elected officials about the need for the program and our office continues to work closely with Senate and House offices to make sure that the program remains a priority.


 

In addition, Fight Colorectal Cancer nominates and supports advocates who serve on the Integration Panel and Peer Review Committees of the research program, and helps get the word out to the scientific community about the application process.

“Funding I received from the FY2010 Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program helped me to identify two new molecular targets which could lead to new treatments for patients with colorectal cancer; in addition, our findings suggest that endothelial cells that comprise tumor-blood vessels are not merely conduits for nutrients and oxygen, but are also are actively involved in regulating cancer stem cells – the drivers of tumor growth, chemoresistance, and as identified from our studies, metastasis formation. This is a highly original finding, which has been validated in innumerable experiments in my laboratory, and resulted in one of the most important papers I’ve published.” – Lee M. Ellis, M.D., MD Anderson Cancer Center.[1]

 

[1] Lu et al., Endothelial Cells Promote the Colorectal Cancer Stem Cell Phenotype through a Soluble Form of Jagged-1, Cancer Cell (2013), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ccr.2012.12.021); Cited in http://www.nature.com/ncb/journal/v15/n4/full/ncb2734.html#auth-1 Zaromytidou, A jagged road to cancer stem cells, Nature Cell Biology (2013)

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