Mesothelioma Patients Support DoD Through Peer Review of Mesothelioma Grants
For the fourth year, Richard Mosca, who received a diagnosis of mesothelioma at the age of 54 in 2006, will advocate for mesothelioma patients by supporting the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) acting as a project reviewer. Mosca, along with Julie Gundlach and David Lerman, who are also mesothelioma patients, were nominated by the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation to evaluate mesothelioma-focused research proposals.
The CDMRP through the Department of Defense (DoD) has a vision to “find and fund the best research to eradicate diseases and support the warfighter for the benefit of the American public.” During fiscal years FY92-11, nearly 11,000 grants have been awarded and funded by Congressional appropriations through CDMRP programs totaling $6.6 billion. The funds go towards the support of research into early detection and development of new treatments for mesothelioma and other cancers. The DoD is responsible for funding and promoting research on diseases related to military service, including mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is an incurable cancer primarily caused by exposure to asbestos. Asbestos was widely used in the military between the 1940s and 1970s in equipment in boiler rooms and engine rooms of ships as well as in numerous products, including gaskets, pumps, valves, boilers and turbines. It was also used in thousands of buildings and Navy ships from World War II until the 1970s. Veterans account for nearly 30 percent of all cases of mesothelioma.
The Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program (PRMRP) has supported research across the full range of science and medicine, with an underlying goal of enhancing the health and well-being of uniformed service personnel, their families, and the veteran population. The consumer reviewers represent the collective views of survivors, patients, family members, and persons affected by and at risk for certain conditions, diseases or injuries. Their duties include reading and evaluating research study applications for relevance to the consumer community’s needs and concerns. They participate as a full member of the review panel, with full voting member status.
Mosca said of the review process, “It’s my goal to see my generation be the last one to hear there are no treatments for your [mesothelioma] disease, especially one that is considered environmental. We owe that to our children and grandchildren.”
Gundlach was also diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2006 and has previously served as a peer reviewer. She attended her first Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation conference in June 2007 and since then has been fighting for a ban on asbestos.