Last year, MS activists reached a new milestone and helped secure $5 million for MS research in FY 2009 under the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP). The CDMRP is a Department of Defense (DoD) program that is funded annual via the Defense Appropriations Act.
Let’s take the next step together and help secure more funding for MS research under the CDMRP. Ask your members of Congress to support a $15 million appropriation under the CDMRP that will help scientists to better understand the causes of MS and help find a cure. The large number of grant proposals recently submitted to the DoD for MS projects indicate that there is a clear need for more funding for MS research.
Take Action Now!
- Call your legislators’ Washington, D.C. office to talk about this issue. Call the Capitol switchboard at 1-800-828-0498 to be connected.
- Click here to follow up with a quick e-mail to your Senators and Representative.
Now is the perfect time to reinforce the message that MS activists took to Capitol Hill during the Public Policy Conference last week.
Background and Talking Points
When you speak with your legislator or their staff tell them that you are making a timely request for the FY 2010 defense appropriations bill.
Ask them to sign on to a Dear Colleague letter requesting $15 million for MS research funding under the CDMRP. This letter is being circulated by Congressmen Russ Carnahan (MO) and Michael Burgess, MD (TX) in the House of Representatives and Senators Sherrod Brown (OH) and Jim Bunning (KY) in the Senate.
- Preliminary evidence suggests that Gulf War veterans could have an increased risk of MS. The evidence includes a study in the Annals of Neurology that identifies 5,345 cases of MS among veterans deemed “service-connected,” which represents a significant increase from previous studies.
- An epidemiologic study found an unexpected, two-fold increase in MS between 1993 and 2000 in Kuwait, which suggests neurotoxin exposure as a potential environmental trigger for MS.
- More than 28,000 veterans with MS were enrolled with the Veterans Health Administration between 1998 and 2003. The VA currently is funding two MS Centers of Excellence to provide clinical care and education. Physicians at those institutions published a professional hypothesis that Gulf War veterans are at an increased risk for MS due to exposure to neurotoxins.
- An advisory committee commissioned by the VA recently recommended further study into the potential link between combat service and the increased risk of developing MS. By studying this population, scientists might be able to understand the cause and triggers of MS and develop effective treatments.
- The CDMRP is a peer-reviewed program that funds high-risk, high-reward research. This nimble program takes prudent measures to ensure that none of its work duplicates or unnecessarily overlaps that done by other research organizations such as the National Institutes of Health.
- In FY 2008, MS was listed as a topic area eligible to compete with other diseases for funding through DoD’s Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program (PRMRP). This was the first time MS was ever listed in the program. The DoD received 108 grant applications for MS funding of which the DoD was able to fund three. Other diseases eligible to compete for PRMRP funding averaged 41 applications per disease area. These numbers help illustrate the unmet need of research funding for MS.
Many U.S. veterans have relevant stories and symptoms of MS. The DoD has an obligation to fund research for diseases related to military service. This research would benefit not only our veterans, but would help us move closer to a world free of MS.