We will continue to raise our voices to protect the Department of Defense (DoD) Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP). Here’s why:
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is legislation that Congress passes each year to establish funding levels for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) put parameters in place for how that money will be spent. Many of you may be thinking, what does that have to do with colorectal cancer? The answer is: a lot!
The NDAA includes parameters for the Congressional Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP), which provides funding to:
“foster novel approaches to biomedical research in response to the expressed needs of its stakeholders: the American public, the military, and Congress.”
The CDMRP was created in 1992, and since then, the program has been investing in groundbreaking research and targeting critical gaps in our understanding of some of the most challenging conditions. The goal of the CDMRP is to fund innovative research that can lead to cures or significant improvements in treatments and patient care. The CDMRP includes over two dozen specific disease programs such as autism, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and several types of cancer.
One of those programs is yet another acronym, the Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program (PRCRP), which seeks to promote “high-impact research for cancer prevention, detection, treatment and survivorship.” The PRCRP was created in 2009 and is essentially a bucket of money dedicated to cancer research ($60 million dollars to be precise) and each year Congress designates a list of specific cancers that are eligible for that funding. For colorectal cancer, the program has funded over $15 million. Colorectal cancer research efforts have included prevention and drug development studies.
Fight CRC & The CDMRP
In the first year of the program’s existence, colorectal cancer was not included in the list of eligible cancers of the CDMRP.
However, the following year, Fight Colorectal Cancer advocates mobilized at Call-on Congress and asked their representatives to include colorectal cancer in the PRCRP. After sharing our stories with dozens of members of Congress, colorectal cancer was officially added as an eligible cancer!
And better yet, Fight CRC advocates have raised their voices each year to keep colorectal cancer on the list and to continue the program’s impactful research. This has been a huge victory for our community.
Why We Must Raise Our Voices
Unfortunately, in recent years the CDMRP has come under attack. Last year and this year language was included in the Senate version of the NDAA that would severely restrict CDMRP research programs and make it incredibly difficult for research institutions to partner with the federal government on these projects.
Last year, the Senate passed an amendment that stripped out the harmful language. But this year, the amendment was not considered and the Senate passed the bill with the harmful provisions included.
Thankfully, the House-passed version of the NDAA does not contain the harmful language. Since the House and Senate versions are different, they now must go to what is called a conference committee.
A conference committee is a temporary panel composed of members of the House and Senate which is formed to work out the differences in legislation.
In the Senate, Sens. Dick Durbin (IL) and Roy Blunt (MO) have drafted a letter to members of the conference committee, asking that they take out the language harmful to the CDMRP. In the House, Reps. Ryan Costello (PA), Dave Loebsack (IA), Peter King (NY) and Sanford Bishop (GA) have done the same.
What You Can Do
Now, they need YOUR help! Each year, Fight CRC advocates have successfully raised their voices to protect this incredibly important research program and we are asking you to do it again. Here’s how you can help:
- If you haven’t already, email your member of Congress using our Action Alerts and tell them about the importance of this research.
- Tweet your representative using the hashtag #ResearchNotRedTape.
- Connect with other advocates by joining our Advocates of Fight CRC Facebook group. This is an easy way to get updates so you’re always in the know.
- Come to D.C. and share your story in person! Registration is now open for Call-On Congress! Come fight with us and make sure your representative thinks of YOU next time they debate and vote on key issues impacting colorectal cancer patients.