The IMF Advocacy team often talks about the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP), asking for patients to serve as consumer reviewers with the CDMRP’s Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program (PRCRP) and updating readers on the appropriations progress of CDMRP/PRCRP, which is how the program funds its research into diseases such as myeloma. Inclusion as an eligible disease for CDMRP funding requires a yearly lobbying effort by the IMF Advocacy Team, as at least one member of both the House and Senate must request the inclusion of blood cancers as a topic area in PRCRP.
Due to the time it takes to determine which research to fund and negotiate contracts for award money, we are only now getting the full scope of research funded under PRCRP for fiscal year 2018 (FY18), which was the first year for myeloma to be reintroduced as an eligible disease area.
And so, it is with some excitement that we share over $2.2 million has been steered towards myeloma specific research for FY18. Just this month, a major award of $1.4 million was finalized for Dr. Fenghuang Zhan of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) to study the molecular genetics and drug resistance of multiple myeloma. The National Institutes of Health has awarded a joint grant of $1.74 million towards this research as well.
Relapses of myeloma and other types of cancers are often caused by these drug-resistant cells. Dr. Zhan believes a protein called CD24 may serve as a reliable indicator of the presence of these drug-resistant myeloma cells and that a therapeutic antibody called SWA11 could be used to target them. Learn more about Dr. Zhan’s program here.
UAMS is not the only research center awarded funding. University of Iowa and Wistar Institute both received six figure awards for myeloma specific research.
We are immensely proud of our efforts to keep CDMRP alive and fully funded. We will continue to push for the inclusion of blood cancers within PRCRP and keep our readers updated on new developments on research and consumer review opportunities.

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