WASHINGTON — George Dahlman, senior vice president of public policy for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), testified today before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Defense Appropriations, calling for funding for a dedicated, stand-alone blood cancer research program at the Department of Defense (DoD).
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has determined that several blood cancers, including chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), lymphoma and multiple myeloma, are associated with exposure to chemical and biological agents from the Vietnam and two Gulf Wars. IOM has identified the need to begin a special research program that is responsive to the needs of military personal and veterans.
LLS specifically called for the funding of a collaborative public-private effort between the U.S. Military Cancer Institute, LLS and a blue ribbon panel of scientific academicians.
The USMCI has over 9 million electronic medical records detailing the health histories of service men and women and their families. The military also has serum and tissue specimens from these individuals stored as a routine step in their health care. These records and samples, together, provide a unique base that can power blood cancer research relevant to the military environment and lifestyle in a way that is not possible for any other population.
“A joint effort, tapping the expertise of both USMCI and LLS, represents a unique opportunity to identify valuable research opportunities and state-of-the-art technology that can address significant questions on the origins and diagnosis of blood cancers,” according to Dahlman.
“DoD research on blood cancers addresses the importance of preparing for civilian and military exposure to the weapons being developed by several hostile nations and to aid in the march to more effective treatment for all who suffer from these diseases,” Dahlman said. “This request clearly has merit for inclusion in the fiscal 2010 legislation.”
The Department of Defense already hosts research programs for breast and prostate cancers and, from 2001-2007, hosted a chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) research program funded at $30 million over the six year period.
About The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (R) (LLS) is the world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. The LLS mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world and provides free information and support services.
Founded in 1949 and headquartered in White Plains, NY, LLS has chapters throughout the United States and Canada. To learn more, visit www.LLS.org or contact the Information Resource Center at (800) 955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET. www.lls.org.