Federal Funding

The MRF continues to advocate for increased research funding in order to one day achieve a world without melanoma. The federal government is the largest funder of cancer research in the world and continued innovation in melanoma prevention, detection and treatment is only possible with continued investment in high-quality research

Defense-Funded Melanoma Research

From Fiscal Years 2009 to 2018, melanoma researchers were eligible to receive Defense funding through the Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program (PRCRP). Over that time period, the Department of Defense through the PRCRP funded $52.5 million in melanoma research.

In September 2018, MRF Advocates rallied to make melanoma a national priority and they won! Congress passed and the President signed into law the Fiscal 2019 Defense Appropriations bill, H.R. 6157, which included a separate line item for Defense-funded melanoma research, and provided a $10 million appropriation for the program. This $10 million line item is the first time melanoma research received dedicated Department of Defense (DOD) funding and represented a historic moment for the melanoma community.

According to a report completed by the U.S. Army Research and Development Command, which summarized the process and funding results of the Fiscal 2019 Melanoma Research Program, 159 applications were received but only 15 applications were recommended for funding, just 9.4% of all applications received.

With 1.3 million Americans living with melanoma, we cannot afford to leave life-saving research on the table.

On Monday, December 21, 2020, both Houses of Congress passed the final version of the FY 2021 Department of Defense (DOD) Appropriations bill and included $30 million for melanoma research within the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP). The $30 million for the Peer Reviewed Melanoma Research Program is a $10 million increase over FY 2020 appropriations.

Want to share your voice in 2021 to help increase federal research funding for melanoma? Register for the MRF’s Advocacy Days below and join melanoma advocates from across the country to find a cure.



National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Cancer Institute (NCI) Funding

A vast amount of melanoma cancer research comes for the NCI, which is part of the NIH, the primary federal agency charged with biomedical research.

Clinical advances in melanoma – including the development of targeted therapies and immunotherapies – have emerged from decades of NCI and NIH funded basic, preclinical and clinical research. Because of these highly effective therapies, from 2012 through 2016, melanoma saw the largest decrease in death rates compared to any other major cancer type – an average of five percent per year.1

However, more funding and resources are necessary to help researchers discover and build upon the scientific findings necessary to develop better early detection tools and more effective treatment options.

In Calendar 2020/Fiscal 2021, MRF requested the following funding levels for the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute.  These levels are supported by the larger cancer community and the biomedical research advocacy community:

  • Support $3.0 billion overall increase for the National Institutes of Health (for total of $44.7 billion for NIH)
  • Support $6.928 billion for the National Cancer Institute
  • Support the NIH’s Office of Rare Disease Research


With the support of a powerful network of melanoma advocates, the NCI and NIH have seen a consistent increase in funding over the past several years. But there is still more work to be done in finding a cure for melanoma and its rare subtypes!

On Monday, December 21, 2020 Congress approved an FY 2021 funding deal that includes an increase for biomedical research funding at the NIH and cancer research at the NCI. The spending bill includes a $1.25 billion increase for NIH, including a nearly $1.2 million increase for the NCI.

Want to share your voice to help the MRF’s work in providing better outcomes for melanoma patients? Register for the MRF’s 2021 Virtual Advocacy Days below.