Editor’s Note: Update September 28, 2018: Congress Heard You Again! New research funding opportunities for childhood and AYA cancer are now available AND the FY19 Defense Appropriations Act provides $90 million (M) to the Department of Defense Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program (PRCRP) to support innovative, high-impact cancer research. The managing agent for the anticipated Program Announcements and Funding Opportunities is the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP). Funding opportunities are available for Children’s, Adolescent’s and Young Adult’s cancers.
What is a CDMRP and why do adolescents and young adults need it to fight their cancers?
The Department of Defense (“DoD”) Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program’s (“CDMRP”) mission is to target critical gaps and transform healthcare through groundbreaking biomedical research in response to its stakeholders—the American public, the military and Congress. The National Institute of Health (“NIH”) defines adolescent and young adults (“AYAs”) as persons between the ages of 15-39 years old. The #1 disease killer of AYAs and children is cancer. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the AYA and pediatric populations comprise more than half (53%) of the American public. According to the DoD, 2.1 million AYAs make up 86% of the active population serving in the U.S. military. When you factor in their spouses and children, more than 90% of America’s active military members and their families fall into the AYA and pediatric population.
According to the NIH, AYA and pediatric cancers are significantly under-researched, leading to poor outcomes including high morbidity and mortality. The CDMRP FY15 $1 billion budget features line items for prostate cancer, ovarian cancer and lung cancer totaling $110 million, for these cancers, with a median diagnosis age of 66 years old. The median age of AYA and the pediatric population fighting cancer is 20 years old. The average age of children dying from cancer is 8 years old, and they lose an average of 71 productive life years. For the first time, in FY2017, line items were added in the CDMRP for AYA and pediatric cancer, the #1 disease killer of America’s young active military service members and their families.
The DoD CDMRP is in the unique position to make groundbreaking, transformative discoveries that positively impact the healthcare for 90% of our nation’s active military forces and 53% of the American population, filling the critical gap by investing in research for cancers that specifically affect AYAs and their children. The NIH says there is a need for basic science, epidemiology and clinical trials to improve survival rates for AYAs and children fighting cancer. The Defense Appropriations Subcommittee was asked to approve a CDMRP to include a $30 million line item specifically for Peer-Reviewed Young Adult, Adolescent and Pediatric Cancer Research. This was approved for 2017 for the first time, and approved again for 2018. Applications are in the process now for 2019.