Sending Office: Honorable Tony Cardenas
Sent By:
Jacqueline.Usyk@mail.house.gov

SUPPORT $12 MILLION FOR MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS RESEARCH

IN THE CONGRESSIONALLY DIRECTED MEDICAL RESEARCH PROGRAMS

 

**VA Advisory Committee has recommended further study into the potential link between
combat service
and increases risk of developing MS. **

 

** THE REQUEST WILL BE CONSIDERED PROGRAMMATIC **

 

Deadline: COB Tuesday, March 13, 2018

 

Dear Colleague:

Please join us in supporting a $12 million appropriation to the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Research Program (MSRP) within Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) in the FY2019 Defense Appropriations.  Since FY2009, Congress has recognized
the need for more MS research and the MSRP has funded more than $45 million of MS research.  We are hoping to continue funding this vital research.

MS is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis, but the progress,
severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted.  There currently is no cure, but advances in research are moving us closer to a world free of MS.

There are over 30,000 veterans with confirmed MS. Over 20,000 veterans are being treated for MS through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) annually, and of that number, 11,632 of those veterans have a service connected disability for MS. An advisory
committee commissioned by the VA recently recommended further study into the potential link between combat service and increase risk of developing MS.

The MSRP is a peer-reviewed program that specifically encourages high risk, high reward research to address fundamental issues and gaps in MS.  The mission of the MSRP is to identify and fund promising research projects that are relevant to the prevention,
etiology, pathogenesis, assessment, and treatment of MS and to ultimately lessen its personal and societal impact.  The DoD has a responsibility to fund MS research related to service during combat.  Not only would this research benefit our active warfighters
and veterans, but would also benefit all those who live with MS and related diseases.

We ask that you support MS research by joining us in our request for $12 million for the Multiple Sclerosis Research Program within the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs in the FY2019 Defense Appropriations.  Please contact Elle Ciapciak
in Congressman Costello’s office at elle.ciapciak@mail.house.gov or Jacqueline Usyk in Congressman Cárdenas’ office at jacqueline.usyk@mail.house.gov by March
13, 2018, to sign on the attached letter.

 

Sincerely,

RYAN A. COSTELLO

Member of Congress

TONY CÁRDENAS

Member of Congress

 

 

 

 

 

####

 

 

 

The Honorable Kay Granger

Chairman

Subcommittee on Defense

House Committee on Appropriations

H-305, The Capitol

Washington, DC  20515

 

The Honorable Pete Visclosky

Ranking Member

Subcommittee on Defense

House Committee on Appropriations

1016 Longworth House Office Building

Washington, DC  20515

 

Dear Chair Granger and Ranking Member Visclosky:

 

On behalf of all people living with multiple sclerosis (MS), we would like to thank you for your past support of MS research through the Multiple Sclerosis Research Program (MSRP), a part of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs funded by
the Department of Defense.  To help people with MS live their best lives, we urge that you provide $12 million for the MSRP in Fiscal Year (FY) 2019.

 

MS is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body.  Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis, but the progress,
severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted.  There currently is no cure, but advances in research are moving us closer to a world free of MS.

 

Preliminary results of a new prevalence study funded by the National MS Society estimates that the l number of people with MS in the United States is more than twice the 400,000 that was previously believed. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the
ages of 20 and 50, during the prime of a person’s life, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed with the disease.

 

Recent research breakthroughs have allowed a greater understanding of some facets of the disease, like MS lesion development and how the immune system responds to different stimuli, but more research investment is needed to unlock the biological triggers
that cause an individual to develop MS.  On average, fewer than 15% of research funding applications submitted to the MRSP can be funded since the program was established in 2009. The high risk, high reward nature of this research can transform general knowledge
and understanding of MS, improve diagnosis and care, and help find a cure.

 

An advisory committee commissioned by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs has recommended further study into the potential link between combat service and increased risk of developing MS. The Society-funded prevalence study estimates that nearly 70,000 veterans
live with MS in the United States. Only 30%-40% of veterans receive obtain their care from the Veterans Health Administration (VHA); however, the VHA provides care for 20,000 veterans with MS annually. Of those veterans that do receive care at the VHA, approximately
12,000 has a service connected disability for MS.  Answering basic biological gaps and fundamental questions about MS has the potential to significantly improve readiness for our armed service members as well as improving outcome and care for all of those
living with MS.

 

To meet these goals and reflect the new understanding we have of the number of people living with MS in the United States, we ask that you include $12 million for the MSRP in the FY 2019 Defense Appropriations. Thank you for your consideration of this request.

 

Sincerely,

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information: Appropriations, HealthCare, Veterans

icon eDC logo e-Dear Colleague version 2.0