The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) appropriations bill, which the House of Representatives passed this week, includes $5 million--an increase from last year's $1 million--to fund research for bone marrow failure diseases.
Last year, Representative Doris Matsui
was successful in having money for bone marrow failure diseases (BMFD) research added to the Defense appropriations bill. The funds were intended to try to determine causes and develop better treatments for BMFD's, particularly among service personnel and veterans. The DoD expected to receive as many as 10 grant applications for these funds but ended up with 30. Currently, they are in the process of awarding the first grant.
This year Rep. Matsui asked for a funding increase to $5 million. On a day when the White House and Congress were discussing a $700 billion financial industry bailout package, $5 million may not sound like much, but it is most significant for BMFD researchers. Initially, the funding was not included in the DoD appropriations bill, but with support of the many advocates who contacted their representatives this past summer--and extraordinary work by Rep. Matsui--the $5 million item was added to the bill late Tuesday night.
When the bill came to the House floor on Wednesday it was approved overwhelmingly. It will now move to the Senate where it is expected to be approved quickly, and then on to the President for signing.