News & Press

The Durbin Amendment Ensures Research Funding Remains a Priority for the DoD

The Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program at the Department of Defense (DoD) has led to many significant discoveries and innovative new treatments for advanced melanoma. However, the FY17 National Defense Authorization Act contained language that would significantly jeopardize the program’s research—including melanoma research–by creating narrowly defined funding eligibility criteria.

Melanoma went thirteen years without any new treatment options. This is an exciting time because we are seeing major breakthroughs in research. Restricting funding now would be a mistake. This is especially important to us because members of the armed forces, especially those who are deployed to places in the Middle East where the sunshine exposure is very high, are at significant risk for developing melanoma.

Realizing the importance of the DoD’s research program, not just for members of the US Military, but also for breakthroughs that could help all people, the Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF) signed a letter last week opposing these provisions and urging Armed Services Committee Chair, John McCain (R-AZ), and Ranking Member, Jack Reed (D-RI), to support amendments that would strike this language from the bill.

We also mobilized our volunteer advocates, sending a call-to-action asking them to contact their Senators and urge them to support an amendment, proposed by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) that would ensure the DoD research program remains intact. Hundreds of advocates made phone calls, sent emails and participated in a social media campaign using the hashtag #ResearchNotRedTape.

We were thrilled to announce that the Durbin amendment passed by a vote of 66 to 32! Huge thanks to everyone who took the time to make those calls, send those emails and share the campaign with your networks. This is a big win and you all played a part in making it happen.