Dispatches From The Hill: Prostate Cancer + The US Government

Mr. Jamie Bearse is the CEO of ZERO — The End of Prostate Cancer. ZERO is a United States based nonprofit with a mission to end prostate cancer.

In the first of a quarterly series, Mr. Bearse updates us on American policies impacting prostate cancer patients.

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Each year, prostate cancer advocates from across the United States storm Capitol Hill to fight for patients and families on important issues like: increasing prostate cancer research funding, expanding access to care, and generating awareness.

I’ve worked at ZERO for more than 5,500 days, attended 15 ZERO Prostate Cancer Summits, and met thousands of families fighting prostate cancer from all across the country. They come to D.C. ready for battle to make sure no one else goes through the pain and suffering they’ve endured.

We have had many successes through advocacy. The Department of Defense (DoD) plays a key role in fighting cancer. Through the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs, the DoD funds cutting-edge research. Specifically,

ZERO’s advocates spearheaded the creation of the $80M program years ago, stopped a $16M cut in 2011, and stopped it from being eliminated in 2013.

In my tenure, I haven’t seen a federal budget proposal that did not threaten prostate cancer funding. Nevertheless, our advocates persist.

As a result, the Prostate Cancer Research Program has produced the discovery of three novel and impactful treatments for advanced prostate cancer—Zytiga (abiraterone), Xtandi (enzalutamide), and Xgeva (denosumab)—as well as a genetic diagnosis profile to determine aggressive disease.

But 2017 is a banner year! We have learned that funding for the Prostate Cancer Research Program (PCRP) at the DoD may be increased to $90M this year.

The Department of Defense’s medical research programs are a proven business model and an epicenter for groundbreaking research in many medical fields, including prostate cancer. As part of this unique and successful model, the DoD program includes patients in a peer-review panel that chooses which bright ideas to fund.

With the additional $10M in funding, the PCRP will be able to fund as many as 40 new projects. Studies will investigate new tests for advanced disease, surveys to understand its genetic impact in families, and better markers to find the disease and put men on the best treatment pathway.

I started at ZERO in the communications department and I believe in the power of storytelling. This win is credited to the amazing advocates who never give up and speak with a unified voice to their elected officials every year. I’m tremendously proud of their passion and hard work. They are the champions for the three million prostate cancer patients in the fight now, the heralds of inspiring stories from families that have fought courageously, and the heroes for the generations to come.

Our work is not done. Not until we reach ZERO prostate cancer deaths. Our victory today must be defended. Call your Senators and Representatives to protect the $90M for prostate cancer research.

Funding for the peer-reviewed Prostate Cancer Research Program is appropriated under House Report 114-577 and Senate Report 114- 263 in the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2017.


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