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Advocacy Update - August 31, 2010
Representative Reichert Circulates "Dear Colleague" Letter to New NCI Director asking him to consider increasing the Institute's commitment to organ-specific research at the NCI through a targeted research program for the deadliest cancers.

Representative Reichert Circulates Dear Colleague Letter to New NCI Director
Representative Dave Reichert (R-WA), a longtime champion of medical research funding, circulated a Dear Colleague letter for Members of the House of Representatives to send to the new National Cancer Institute (NCI) Director, Dr. Harold Varmus. This letter asked the Director to consider increasing the Institute's commitment to organ-specific research at the NCI through a targeted research program for the deadliest cancers.  Eighteen bi-partisan Representatives signed onto the letter including Members of the House Appropriations and Energy & Commerce Committees. To view a copy of the final letter, please click here. Below is a list of those who signed-on.

  1. Dave Reichert (R-WA)
  2. Peter Roskam (R-IL)
  3. Dennis Moore (D-KS)
  4. Patrick Murphy (D-PA)
  5. Michael Michaud (D-ME)
  6. Chellie Pingree (D-ME)
  7. Jim Moran (D-VA)
  8. Barney Frank (D-MA)
  9. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA)
  10. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
  11. Todd Platts (R-PA)
  12. Ron Paul (R-TX)
  13. Bill Shuster (R-PA)
  14. Anna Eshoo (D-CA)
  15. Ginny Brown-Waite (R-FL)
  16. Donald Payne (D-NJ)
  17. David Wu (D-OR)
  18. Michael Burgess (R-TX)

Senate Passes Improving Access to Clinical Trials Act
On August 5th, 2010 the US Senate passed S 1674, the Improving Access to Clinical Trials Act. The Improving Access to Clinical Trials Act (S 1674/HR 2866) changes current Supplemental Security Income (SSI) eligibility requirements so that research compensation (up to $2,000) for participation in a clinical drug study for a rare disease or condition is no longer considered income for determining SSI eligibility.

Current rules regarding eligibility for SSI prevent many people with rare diseases who receive SSI from participating in clinical trials. The inability of SSI beneficiaries to accept research compensation for participation in a clinical trial has been shown to be a significant deterrence to research participation.

It's now up to the House to take action on this important bill before Members leave in October to campaign in preparation for the November elections. We need myeloma advocates to contact their House Members and ask him/her to cosponsor the Improving Access to Clinical Trials Act. Visit www.advocacy.myeloma.org to send an e-mail on this important bill.

Can You Spare 5 Minutes for Blood Cancer Awareness Month?
IMF is asking every advocate to spend 5 minutes to write their U.S. Representative and urge him or her to co-sponsor H Res 1433. This resolution recognizes September 2010 as Blood Cancer Awareness Month and highlights the impact blood cancers have in the United States each year and encourages greater support for blood cancer research and education.

In order for the legislation to be considered by the House of Representatives, 100 Members of Congress must first co-sponsor the resolution. Currently, 40 more signatures are needed to meet this goal! It will take just minutes to contact your Representative and help ensure that this important resolution is introduced.  Please visit the Advocacy Action Center at www.advocacy.myeloma.org to write your U.S. Representative and urge him or her to support Blood Cancer Awareness Month by co-sponsoring H Res 1433.

Are You a Member of the Myeloma Action Network?
Want to stay informed about IMF's advocacy activities? All you need to do is to join the Myeloma Action Network at www.advocacy.myeloma.org and you will automatically receive e-mail advocacy alerts from the IMF.  To learn more about health care reform and other important advocacy issues that impact the myeloma community, please visit the IMF advocacy page at www.myeloma.org.

For more information about the legislation listed above or any other IMF advocacy initiative, contact IMF's Director of Government Relations, Christine Murphy at cmurphy@myeloma.org or 703-738-1498.

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