patient speaking with a healthcare panel

Progress in Federal Funding for Lung Cancer

At the end of June, a bipartisan amendment was passed to restore the budget for the Department of Defense (DOD) Lung Cancer Research Program to $20 million for 2019. What does that really mean?

Increase in lung cancer funding

Every year, the Department of Defense asks investigators to apply for program funding through the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP). There are specific programs for various disease and condition states that affect both Service Members and the American public, including lung cancer. Each program receives its funding through congressional appropriations and the amounts of funding vary greatly among diseases and conditions.

In 2017, $12 million was dedicated to the Lung Cancer Research Program (LCRP). This was increased to $14 million in 2018 and to the $20 million for 2019 that I mentioned above, due to a lot of advocacy work by some fantastic lung cancer advocates who have stormed Capitol Hill.

Listening to patient voices

How are the best proposals for funding chosen? You see, the LCRP receives many more proposals each year than can be funded. In order to decide which are the most worthy proposals, a group of lung cancer researchers and other professionals are convened to review proposals. This review process includes “consumer” reviewers, who are patients actually living with the disease.

For the past two years, I have been fortunate enough to be one of these reviewers. I have shared my patient perspective on lung cancer proposals in order to help decide which would make the most significant impact for patients. I was very pleased to find that my point of view was welcomed and respected by the other medical professionals who were part of the review process.

Positive steps forward

Every year, the highest rated proposals after two review processes are selected for funding. This increase in congressional dollars means that more proposals that merit funding will be able to be selected each year! This is fantastic news and from the point of view of a lung cancer consumer reviewer like me, I can see the direct impact this will have on patients since every year, worthy proposals go unfunded because of limited dollars.

Yes, there are other DOD CDMRP disease-focused programs that have much more funding than lung cancer and the $20 million in appropriations isn’t really new, instead is a restoration of the amount originally approved by Congress in 2009. We still have a long way to go, but I believe it’s important to recognize progress every single step of the way!

For more information on the DOD programs and becoming a consumer reviewer, please go to their website here.

Editorial Note: the federal funding for the Lung Cancer Research Program has been readjusted to $14 million in FY19. Advocates are working to restore the budget to the full $20 million in the FY20 budget.1 Reviewed October 29, 2018

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