In the U.S., different diseases receive disparate amounts of funding into research for treatment and cure. Mesothelioma has traditionally received far less funding from the government than other diseases, and the impact of that disparity has been a dearth of available FDA-approved treatments.
Consequently, physicians and researchers have been forced to turn to therapies that have been designed and approved for the treatment of other cancers in the hope that their off-brand use will provide some relief.
However, a better solution to the problem would be an increase in funding for mesothelioma research. The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation has been working towards that goal since it was founded in 1999.
Federal research funding for research into mesothelioma comes from two main sources. These include the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), while cancer research largely originates from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Comparatively speaking, the amount of funding that is available for different cancers varies greatly, with no apparent connection between the money spent and the number of deaths caused by each illness each year.
For example, cervical cancer kills roughly the same number of people each year as mesothelioma does, yet research into cervical cancer garners $81 million in funding each year.
On the other hand, mesothelioma research receives only $10 million in funding, and cervical cancer already has a number of approved treatments available, including early diagnosis tools that are sorely lacking for mesothelioma, as well as a widely available vaccine.
Similar statistics regarding the disparity of money spent on research is present in other forms of cancer. Looking at the amount of research money spent per patient death per disease, cervical cancer spending reaches almost $19,000 per death, breast cancer is over $15,000 per patient death, brain cancer research receives almost $13,000 per patient death, while mesothelioma receives just over $3,000 per death.
One of the most difficult aspects of understanding this disparity can be found in the realization that the majority of mesothelioma sufferers served in the United States’ armed forces, particularly those who served in the Navy.
The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation has fought for an increase in funding for mesothelioma research for many years, and points out that while breast cancer research has been given almost $3 billion since 1992, mesothelioma research has received only $8.2 billion.