Peer Reviewed Cancer
The Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program (PRCRP) Vision Video (Text Version)
Title: The Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program (PRCRP) Vision
The DoD Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program has a vision: to advance mission readiness of U.S. military members affected by cancer, and to improve quality of life, by decreasing the burden of cancer on Service members, their families, and the American public.
The Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program, or PRCRP, was established in fiscal year 2009 with a congressional appropriation of 16 million dollars. The PRCRP is unique among the different cancer research programs offered by the CDMRP, because of congressional language that, 1, specifies the topic areas or types of cancer or research areas to be funded, and 2, requires that the research is relevant to Service members and their families.
The topic areas change yearly as designated by Congress. Many of the cancers or research areas have been topic areas under the PRCRP for years. Some are brand new. Some topic areas are not specific cancers, but areas of cancer research, such as immunotherapy.
Each year, the congressional language changes, and therefore applicants should stay informed through the PRCRP webpage. Each PRCRP funding opportunity will list the topic areas that may be funded for that fiscal year, with additional language, definitions, and instructions. Applicants must respond to at least one of the congressionally directed topic areas offered during the fiscal year of the funding opportunity. No applications proposing research into cancers supported by other CDMRP-managed programs are allowed.
In addition to the topic areas, the PRCRP’s investment strategy is crafted around the congressional requirement to be relevant to military health concerns. Applicants must respond to at least one of the military health focus areas.
The first focus area concentrates on environmental and/or exposure risk factors associated with cancer.
Examples of this include environmental carcinogens or other exposures associated with cancer risk — such as ionizing radiation, chemicals, infectious agents, and stress.
Service members perform their duties in both developed and developing nations, and the environment in which they serve may lead to increased risk of carcinogenesis years or decades later. For instance, in many nations around the world the infectious agent H. pylori is endemic, and this leads to higher rates of some cancers such as stomach cancer. Service members may be at risk of exposure if they live and work in these countries. Understanding the molecular mechanics of cancer initiation, or clinical implications of cancer risk and exposures, is critical to a healthy military force.
The second focus area targets knowledge gaps in the cancer care spectrum that may impact mission readiness and the health and well-being of military members, Veterans, their beneficiaries, and the general public.
Examples of knowledge gaps that may impact mission readiness include how a cancer diagnosis of a Service member affects not only the individual Soldier, Airman, Marine, or Sailor, but the entire unit, and therefore the mission.
Each Service member plays a crucial role in their unit, and vulnerabilities in force readiness must be mitigated.
Knowledge gaps addressed also include research across the cancer care spectrum: from the most basic research question, to how to prevent cancer from developing, to improved diagnosis and detection, through how to understand prognosis, and the discovery of better treatment, as well as improving how survival is attained — all are key to supporting mission readiness.
For example, studies into improving survival while minimizing side effects, would allow active duty Service members to return to duty sooner. Or investigations into treatments that minimize a family member’s time in the hospital, to maximize the Service member’s availability to serve, are critical to a force readiness.
The Service member, the support system, and/or the family play key roles in ensuring a healthy force.
The commitment to serve is a noble endeavor, and the PRCRP supports cancer research not only to benefit active duty Service members and their families, but also other military beneficiaries including Veterans.
As a research funding program, the most significant method the PRCRP has to influence the quality of life of Service members and their families, is through creative and impactful research funding. There are over 300,000 military beneficiaries with a cancer diagnosis, comprised of more than 60 different cancer types. The PRCRP is uniquely positioned to pursue high quality research focused on finding solutions, to improve the health and welfare of military Service members, their families, and our Veterans.
Last updated Wednesday, February 12, 2020