Thursday, November 15, 2007

MS Activism Success — New Defense Funding Available for MS Research

Your MS activism has paid off big. For the first time ever, multiple sclerosis research will be eligible for funding under the Department of Defense (DoD). Thank you.

Congress has listed MS as a research area eligible for funding under the DoD's Peer Reviewed Medical Research Programs (PRMRP). PRMRP is a sister program to the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) under DoD that we've been working toward all year. This program has a budget of $50 million that can only be spent on research areas that Congress directs. It is a new and untapped funding source for MS research, and will complement the work that NIH is doing to move us closer to a world free of MS.

The PRMRP was established in 1999 and continues to fulfill its Congressional intent by funding research of clear scientific merit with relevance to the health of the military and the American public. PRMRP Congressional appropriations have totaled $344.5 million through 2006 and funded 247 projects in more than 60 topic areas.

All year, you have advocated to Congress to provide Defense funding for MS research. While this program is not the exact line item we asked for, it is a significant gain in our effort expand research funding for MS in the federal arena.

The Society continues to carefully watch emerging evidence from Veterans' Affairs researchers and others that might point to an increased risk of MS among combat veterans. More research must be conducted to better understand a potential environmental trigger.

The Defense Appropriations (H.R. 3222) funding bill was signed by the President on November 13, 2007. As the program is implemented, we will let you know how researchers and others can apply for this funding. Thank you again for all your hard work and MS activism on this issue. We will need your voice again next year.

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