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With our tax dollars, the federal government supports research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In 2020, a division of the NIH known as the National Cancer Institute invested $6.5 billion on research seeking the causes and cures for the many forms of cancer, including colorectal cancer. The thing many people don’t know is that the second-largest source of public funding for biomedical research, including cancer research, is through the Department of Defense (DOD).

In 1992, Congress first provided funding through the DOD appropriation to create the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP). This program seeks to fund high risk but high gain research programs that may fall outside the purview of NIH and other agencies. CDMRP invests in groundbreaking research that targets critical gaps in research and includes the full pipeline of research, including basic, translational, and clinical.

In 2020, CDMRP invested approximately $2.5 billion in leading-edge research. The program has 32 disease or condition-specific research initiatives, including eight cancer programs: breast, kidney, lung, melanoma, ovarian, pancreatic, prostate, and rare. Despite the fact that colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths, there is not a colorectal cancer research program within the CDMRP.

Fortunately, this year some of our champions in Congress are taking action to establish a $20 million colorectal cancer research program within the CDMRP. Four members of the House of Representatives have authored a bipartisan letter asking the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee to include this new colorectal cancer research program in the CDMRP appropriations. The Alliance applauds Representatives Donald McEachin, VA 4th; Rodeny Davis, IL 13th; Donald Payne, Jr, NJ 10th; and David McKinley, WV 1st; for taking the lead in support of this program.


All you need to do is send an email to your representative asking him or her to sign on to the McEachin/Davis Dear Colleague letter in support of creating the Colorectal Cancer Research Program through the CDMRP appropriations. You can find information on your Representative and how to contact him/her at https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative.


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