ARTICLE BY ASBESTOS.COM
The government plays a small role funding mesothelioma research compared to funding other cancers. Federal organizations that provide funding include the National Cancer Institute, Department of Defense, FDA-sanctioned clinical trials and the National Mesothelioma Virtual Bank.
There are a couple reasons why government funding for mesothelioma research lags far behind that of other cancers. The first is that the number of people affected by mesothelioma is small in comparison, with an estimated 3,000 new cases diagnosed each year.
Another challenge for finding government funding for mesothelioma research is the public’s relative lack of awareness about the illness. When there is less awareness of a particular disease, there is less pressure on Congress to fund it accordingly.
However, mesothelioma researchers and patient advocacy groups are working to secure more funding to help people diagnosed with mesothelioma.
Doctors and scientists are securing additional grants to fund new breakthroughs in treatment methods. Patient advocacy groups are lobbying for more funding for research and clinical trials. Thanks to these efforts, mesothelioma is receiving more federal funding than ever before.
Federal Funding for Mesothelioma Compared to Other Cancers
NCI’s total 2019 budget is $5.75 billion. This figure represents a $79 million increase from the institute’s 2018 budget.
Funds are given to various research institutions based on the incidences and death rates of the most common types of cancer and other non-measurable factors.
In 2017, breast cancer research received $545 million, which is more federal funding than any other cancer. That cancer takes in three times the funding of lung cancer research even though its death rate is one-fourth the amount. This is because of greater public awareness of breast cancer and more intensive lobbying.
In comparison, federal funding for mesothelioma research was only $6 million or 0.1 percent of the institute’s annual budget from 2004-2007.
However, funding for mesothelioma appears to be increasing. For example, the Abramson Cancer Center received a $10.7 million grant in 2019 to study CAR-T cell therapy as a treatment for mesothelioma.