Medical Research Program for the Department of Defence


Press Releases
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The Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program (PRCRP) research advocates Florence Kurtilla, Lee Jones, Kathy Oliver, and Julie Krause recently participated in the evaluation of research applications submitted to the PRCRP sponsored by the Department of Defense. The research advocates were nominated for participation in the program by Fight Colorectal Cancer.  As consumer reviewers, they were full voting members, (along with prominent scientists) at meetings to help determine how the $60 million appropriated by Congress for Fiscal Year 2017 will be spent on cancer research.

Consumer reviewers are asked to represent the collective view of patients and family members by preparing comments on the impact of the research on issues such as diagnosis, treatment, and quality of life.

When commenting on serving as a consumer reviewer, Flo Kurtilla a 17-year stage II survivor said, “Serving on the DoD PRCRP was an honor and a learning experience that is hard to beat!  Excellent discussions, opportunities to answer questions of the experts in their fields along with sharing the advocate voices and concerns was such a learning experience while helping cancer patients and survivors. It was a chance for true input on so many ideas. I hope to be offered the opportunity again and again!!”

Kathy Oliver, colorectal cancer fighter, added, “serving on an immunotherapy panel for PRCRP was an amazing experience. It was hard work but I loved listening to the scientists and I learned so much. I hope to be able to participate next year.”

Julie Krause, a stage III survivor said she had the great opportunity to work as a consumer reviewer with the DoD PRCRP grant review board in Dec last year.

“It was a very challenging project with a tremendous learning curve but the whole process was so fulfilling. I meet some truly incredible researchers and doctors. There are really well thought out ideas to not only help treat, but cure, cancer. The whole process opened my mind to all that goes into designing and running trials.”

Lee Jones, a 14-year stage IV survivor stated “I appreciate the opportunity to work with doctors, scientists and other advocates to review and promote these innovative, basic research proposals. With five-year survival rates still too low for most colorectal cancer patients, the potential breakthroughs resulting from this research are critical to save patients' lives and improve the quality of their lives.”

Consumer advocates and scientists have worked together in this unique partnership to evaluate the scientific merit of research applications since 2009. Colonel Wanda L. Salzer, M.D., Director of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs expressed her appreciation for the consumer advocates perspective during the scientific review sessions.

“The Consumer Reviewers on each panel are instrumental in helping the scientists understand the patient’s perspective and provide valuable insight into the potential impact of the proposed project. They bring with them a sense of urgency and remind us all, of the human element involved in medical research.”

Scientists applying propose to conduct innovative research to improve the quality of life by decreasing the impact of cancer on Service members, their families and the American public. The PRCRP fills important gaps not addressed by other funding agencies by supporting groundbreaking, high-risk, high-gain research while encouraging out-of-the-box thinking.