The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (also known as the Meso Foundation) has nominated Rich Mosca, a well-known and highly respected mesothelioma advocate, to an esteemed position as a consumer reviewer for the Department of Defense’s special research program called the Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program, or PRCRP.
The program was first established in 2009 and is specifically tasked to support research into treatment and cures for cancers designated by Congress as having an impact on those who have served in the American military, as well as their families. There are a number of hazards that those who have served in the various branches of the service have been particularly exposed to during their various deployments, and as a result the Veterans Health Administration established a National Cancer Strategy to address the issues that these hazards have caused and the diseases that they have caused. Though there are over sixty types of cancer that have been identified and earmarked to receive funding for studies on diagnosis and treatment, mesothelioma is one of the most deadly. The always fatal form of cancer claims approximately 3,500 lives in the United States every year, with roughly one third of them having served in the American military.
The role of consumer reviewer requires participants to investigate the impact of the different diseases impacting members of the military with an eye to determining how best to allocate $15 million dollars in research funds. Diseases being weighed include melanoma and other skin cancers, kidney cancer, pancreatic cancer, mesothelioma, neuroblastoma, pediatric brain tumors and blood and colorectal cancers. The fund allocation process is designed to determine how patients are best served, whether by putting funds into diagnosis, screening, education, or other important areas including patient support and support for their families. The advantage of having consumers participate in the review process is the addition of a less analytical, scientific voice to supplement those of the research community.
Rich Mosca was chosen for the highly respected for many reasons, but chiefly because he is himself a survivor of mesothelioma. He was diagnosed with the illness at the age of 54, and following treatment became involved in mesothelioma advocacy. He was integral to the establishment of Mesothelioma Awareness Day, and has taken on the goal of completely eliminating the use of asbestos in the United States.