Thanks for speaking with me about mesothelioma, a fatal asbestos-related
cancer that is under-funded compared to AIDS and other forms of cancers.
Of the estimated 4,000 Americans diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma
every year, about 32% are Navy veterans or civilians who worked in U.S.
Navy shipyards. Last year MARF proposed a $140 million Mesothelioma Research
and Treatment Program, which Senator Murray adopted in her Ban Asbestos
Act legislation. Senator Hatch's office advised me as well that the
program was long overdue and they would include the program in the final
version of the FAIR Act, which as you know is no longer scheduled for debate.
After November 2, 2004, I would like to come to Washington, D.C. along
with Dr. Harvey Pass, who is the Chairman of MARF's Science Advisory
Board, about fashioning legislation that would directly appropriate funds
to the DoD for the creation of a mesothelioma medical research and treatment
program. Congress has created CDMRPs for ovarian, prostate, breast and
other cancers, which are not normally associated with military service.
Neither the DoD nor the Department of Veterans Affairs has any treatment
or research program for mesothelioma, which remains grossly under-funded
when compared to other cancers. I'm sure MARF can mobilize all of
the key military veterans' groups to back a bipartisan effort to fund
medical research on this long-neglected cancer.
In addition to Dr. Pass, I would also like to bring with me Mr. Phil McWeeny,
who is the Vice President and Chief Legal Counsel for Owens-Illinois,
Inc., a defendant in asbestos litigation, who agrees with MARF that Congress
has a major role to play in helping cure mesothelioma. I believe together
we can secure a Republican senator to co-sponsor the appropriations bill.
I am enclosing a copy of the paper I recently presented at the medical
symposium in Las Vegas at which Senator Reid recently spoke. I am also
enclosing a copy of the proposed medical program which Senator Murray
incorporated into her bill, along with a memorandum that discusses the
history and objectives of the CDMRPs, and Dr. Harvey Pass' Roadmap
for Curing Mesothelioma. MARF is the only group (public or private) that
has specifically targeted mesothelioma research as a priority and we have
funded over $1.3 million in grants. We would like to help administer any
federal moneys appropriated.
On behalf of all the doctors, scientists and patients affiliated with MARF,
I look forward to working with you.
Roger G. Worthington