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Congressman Ryan Costello

Representing the 6th District of Pennsylvania

Bipartisan House Members Request Support for Medical Research Program

October 27, 2017
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Ryan Costello (R-PA) led a letter to the Chairmen of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees with Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-IA), Rep. Peter King (R-NY), and Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA), urging funding for the Congressionally-Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP). The bipartisan letter, which was signed by 180 Members of Congress, requests that the final National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) excludes certain provisions that would bring CDMRP to a standstill. 

The CDMRP has received bipartisan support for its critical work in funding research, which has led to major medical advancements in areas not sponsored by the National Institutes of health (NIH) and other federal agencies. These include certain research programs focused on discovering cures for multiple forms of cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and neurological diseases.

“Innovation in medical research is a central component of medical breakthroughs, and for over two decades, the Congressionally-Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) has provided the resources and tools necessary for these important advancements in treatment,” said Rep. Costello. “This program has resulted in improving the quality of life for veterans, servicemembers, and their families, and we must continue to support it.”

“The Congressionally-Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) within the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) has for many years been on the forefront of research and discovery for several forms of cancer, including breast, lung, ovarian and pancreatic. They are also helping lead the way into finding cures for neurological diseases, traumatic brain injury, and post-traumatic stress disorder,” said Rep. Loebsack. “Moving this life-saving research initiative outside of the DOD will cause an unnecessary halt to the research and put healthcare for our troops, veterans and their families at risk. It is important that we support keeping the CDMRP where it is, within the DOD.”

“It is imperative that Congress continues its strong support for CDMRP. Too many lives have been improved and transformed because of their medical research,” said Rep. King. “To weaken any part of this program is a mistake.”

“The Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) at the Department of Defense is a vital tool for strengthening and transforming healthcare services," said Rep. Bishop. "The impactful biomedical research supported by this program fosters medical breakthroughs that improve the quality of life of our combat-wounded veterans, while further boosting new treatments and cures for neurological diseases impacting all Americans. It is imperative that we fully fund this program to ensure continued biomedical advancement." 

The letter was supported by many stakeholders, including the National Breast Cancer Coalition, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society:

Fran Visco, President of the National Breast Cancer Coalition: “The DOD Breast Cancer Research Program (BCRP) is a highly effective, efficient and transparent government funded program.  It works. The proposed language in the Senate-passed NDAA would completely undermine the BCRP and set back progress that is saving the lives of women and men. The partnership between the DOD, women and men with breast cancer and the worldwide scientific community, benefits individuals and institutions in the military and beyond.   Undermining or eliminating this program is shortsighted and harmful to women everywhere. Without this program, innovative therapies would have been much delayed or would never have been developed. "

Haywood L. Brown, M.D., president of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: “The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) strongly advocates for the protection of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) at the Department of Defense (DoD). The CDMRP directly and positively impacts the health and lives of the U.S. military and their families. As women’s health care physicians, ob-gyns understand the tremendous value that breast and gynecologic cancer research programs have. Programs like the gold standard, Ovarian Cancer Research Program (OCRP) fill enormous research gaps by targeting a range of issues from early cancer detection to personalized treatment and quality of life. ACOG thanks Congressman Costello for his leadership and strongly urges the House and Senate Armed Services Committee Chairs and Ranking Members to protect this vital program in the FY2018 National Defense Authorization Act.”

Bari Talente, Executive Vice President of Advocacy for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society: “Evidence suggests a link between military service and an increased risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS). A recent advisory committee, commissioned by the Veterans Administration, recommended further study of this link. The Multiple Sclerosis Research Program, funded by the Department of Defense within the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP), is a critically important path to find answers for those diagnosed with MS who serve our country, as well as for others living with MS. As Co-Chair of the MS Caucus, Representative Costello understands the importance of the Multiple Sclerosis Research Program and we thank him and his colleagues for urging the House and Senate conferees to preserve the innovative, high risk research provided through the CDMRP.”

Click here to read the letter.