There have been remarkable breakthroughs in the science surrounding malignant mesothelioma in the last several years. We now know far more about how the cancerous tumors form, what role asbestos plays on changes in cell DNA, and the impact of various advanced treatment technologies on the tumors and on patient survival. Unfortunately, at the same time that scientists are making great leaps forward, the funding for their research is diminishing. This is leaving a gap that philanthropists are starting to fill.
Mesothelioma Research Is Disadvantaged by How Rare the Disease Is
There have been numerous recent advances in mesothelioma research, with particular attention being paid to the use of immunotherapy to boost the body’s ability to fight back against the growth of tumors and to boost the effectiveness of already-existing treatment methods like chemotherapy. Though these state-of-the-art treatments have gained tremendous attention in the laboratory as well as the media, that has not necessarily translated into increased funding to help pay for the studies that need to be done. This is of particular concern to those searching for a cure for rare diseases like mesothelioma, which is only diagnosed in about 3,500 Americans per year. Though some medications have qualified for special advantages in getting approvals from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration under the auspices of being designated as orphan drugs, the truth is that more and more research is being funded by individual philanthropists and the contributions that people are making to foundations that support finding a cure for specific illnesses.
Funding for New Research Has Fallen
To get an idea of how much less funding mesothelioma researchers and other cancer researchers are receiving from the federal government, consider this statistic: The National Cancer Institute’s funding of new research has fallen from 28 percent of submitted proposals in 1997 to just 12 percent in 2017. This fall in funding is both diminishing the number of studies that are being done, and also having a negative impact on the number of proposals being submitted as scientists begin to lose hope of being able to pursue their research.
This fall in funding does not mean that mesothelioma research will not continue: rather it means that it is likely to find its funding from alternative sources. This is one of the reasons that so many mesothelioma victims and their loved ones encourage their communities to make contributions to the various fundraising efforts that support finding a cure for this rare and fatal form of cancer.
If you have been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma and you need information on the most current research, support groups, or any other resource to help you, contact the Patients Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today. We can be reached at 1-800-692-8608.