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Winter 2001/2002 Volume 4, Issue 8:
Advocacy Update - Winter 2001/2002
By Greg Brozeit
Congress Puts Research Pressure on Agencies to Raise Myeloma Awareness

Rep. Nancy Pelosi?s (D-CA) efforts to engage the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in multiple myeloma public awareness and education highlighted this years reports to the House and Senate funding bills for cancer research programs. Rep. Pelosi and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) provided leadership to include a variety of provisions on multiple myeloma research to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), CDC, as well as other federal research agencies in the House and Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations bill reports.

Other important provisions of the bills include $23.7 billion to fulfill the fourth year of a 5-year congressional pledge to double funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This was a high priority of the One Voice Against Cancer Coalition and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA).

Final action to reconcile the bills (H.R. 3061 and S. 1536) for the president's approval is expected to take place prior to the Thanksgiving congressional recess.

Both reports (H. Rept. 107-229 and S. Rept. 107-84) reflect Congress's heightened awareness about myeloma and other deadly forms of cancer by asking CDC ?to plan and implement public awareness programs for orphan cancers for patients and physicians. Such cancers include esophageal, kidney, liver, multiple myeloma, pancreatic and stomach. Patients diagnosed with these cancers have the lowest life expectancy rates of all diagnosed cancers, yet community oncologists generally lack specific knowledge about these malignancies.?

Additionally, both reports continue to press NCI for substantive results from the recently completed Leukemia, Lymphoma, and Myeloma Progress Review Group, including a report with a budget to be completed by next spring's fiscal year 2003 hearings. Both reports also request CDC to create better data-gathering processes to better aid diagnosis and treatment of myeloma and other deadly cancers.

In a departure from previous years, the House report also request specific collaboration between NCI, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences on myeloma research issues. These include bone disease involvement, the development of technologies for better monitoring, anti-angiogenesis research, and to put emphasis on translational research to speed up the lag time between discoveries in the lab and pharmaceutical drug development.

The full texts of the provisions relevant to the myeloma community will be posted on the IMF website.

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