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WASHINGTON, July 17, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today the Senate Appropriations Committee approved their fiscal year 2015 Defense Appropriations bill which includes $50 million for the Department of Defense's (DoD) Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program (PRCRP), doubling the level of funding from fiscal year 2014. This announcement illustrates the Committee's dedication to ensuring U.S. service members and citizens have access to innovative treatment options against melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. As part of this approval, nine cancers, including melanoma, are eligible to compete for this funding. The Senate Appropriations Committee report noted the special burden melanoma places on members of the military.
Deeply committed to enhancing the availability of breakthrough therapies for people with melanoma, the Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA) and the Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF) commend the Senate Appropriations Committee's recognition of the urgent need to invest resources and talent into advancing medical research that will bring new and better treatment options to our U.S. service members and citizens.
"The MRF has worked with many melanoma patients who were or currently are in the military and we see the impact this disease has on their lives. The increasing incidence of melanoma among service personnel is not surprising, given the undeniable link between melanoma and exposure to UV radiation," said Tim Turnham, Executive Director of the MRF. "The MRF and MRA jointly applaud the Senate Appropriations Committee for expanding its protection for those who are sacrificing to protect us."
The Senate's decision to increase the pool of funding and further prioritize specific cancers, such as melanoma, comes at an important time for the medical research community. Congressional funding through the PRCRP will also soften the blow of reductions in the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) research budget to progress in treating melanoma.
"Investment in melanoma research will support the entire research community and capitalize on the momentum of recent research and treatment breakthroughs," said Wendy Selig, MRA president and CEO. "We must have a sustained investment of resources and a committed focus from the best and brightest minds to ensure that we can expedite more concepts through the clinical development system and through the regulatory process so patients can benefit from the progress."
To ensure breakthrough research around melanoma treatments progresses, the MRA and the MRF will continue working with experts in the research community to ensure that newly allocated funds are being used to the best benefit for people with melanoma, with assets afforded to the most promising research initiatives.
Melanoma is one of the fastest growing cancers in the United States and can strike men and women of all ages, all races and skin types. With a one in 50 lifetime risk of developing melanoma, nearly 77,000 Americans are expected to be diagnosed with the disease in 2014, resulting in almost 10,000 deaths. Melanoma is the most common form of cancer for young adults 25- to 29-years-old and the second most common cancer in adolescents and young adults 15- to 29-years-old. The majority of melanomas occur on the skin; in fact, melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer. Melanoma can also occur in the eye (ocular, or uveal melanoma), in mucous membranes (mucosal melanoma), or even beneath fingernails or toenails.
About the Melanoma Research Foundation
The Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF) is the largest independent organization devoted to melanoma. Committed to the support of medical research in finding effective treatments and eventually a cure for melanoma, the MRF also educates patients and physicians about prevention, diagnosis and the treatment of melanoma. The MRF is an active advocate for the melanoma community, helping to raise awareness of this disease and the need for a cure. The MRF's website is the premier source for melanoma information seekers. More information is available at www.melanoma.org. Find the MRF on Facebook and Twitter.
About the Melanoma Research Alliance
MRA is a public charity formed in 2007 under the auspices of the Milken Institute, with the generous founding support of Debra and Leon Black. MRA has dedicated more than $60 million to research seeking to better prevent, diagnose, and treat melanoma, the most deadly type of skin cancer. Due to the ongoing support of its founders, 100% of every dollar MRA raises goes to support its melanoma research program. The organization is poised to build on recent momentum in the field, accelerating the pace of scientific discovery and translation in order to eliminate suffering and death due to melanoma. MRA's ability to fund wide-ranging research in melanoma is amplified by unique multi-faceted collaborations and partnerships with individuals, private foundations, and corporations. For more information, please visit www.CureMelanoma.org.
SOURCE Melanoma Research Foundation