We are pleased to report that both the House and the Senate Appropriations Committees have approved keeping pancreatic cancer in the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Peer-Reviewed Cancer Research Program (PRCRP) for Fiscal Year 2017. While the separate funding bills still need to be combined into a compromise bill that can be passed by Congress, this is an important step for our community.

There are only a handful of cancers that are approved for funding through this program and the list must be approved by Congress each year. And each year, our strong grassroots advocacy network contacts their members of Congress to request that they support keeping pancreatic cancer in the program. This year, thanks to our grassroots advocates, we secured over a 20 percent increase in the number of members of Congress who supported this request. Over the last five years since pancreatic cancer was first added, the DoD has funded 32 pancreatic cancer grants totaling $12.2 million.

Though the total is small in comparison to funding provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), it remains an important source of funding.

“The Department of Defense is focused on funding high-risk, high-reward projects,” said Megan Gordon Don, vice president of Government Affairs & Advocacy at our organization. “We are excited to learn that the House and Senate Appropriations Committees have approved keeping pancreatic cancer in the program and will continue to push to ensure that pancreatic cancer stays in the final bill.”

Congress is currently debating how much will be allocated to the DoD’s PRCRP for FY17. Last year, Congress approved $50 million for the program. For FY17, the House DoD Appropriations Committee approved $30 million and the Senate DoD Appropriations Committee approved $60 million. That means that representatives from the House and the Senate will need to meet in a “conference committee” to iron out the funding number that will be included for the program in the final bill. We will be pushing for the Senate amount over the next few weeks and during Advocacy Day.