Pancreatic Cancer Research at the Department of Defense


PanCAN and our national grassroots community of advocates led the charge to create the first-ever Pancreatic Cancer Research Program (PCARP) at the Department of Defense (DoD) in 2019. That year, Congress provided $6 million for the program and increased that investment to $15 million the following year. This dedicated program tackles pancreatic cancer in a comprehensive way: it identifies gaps and opportunities in pancreatic cancer research and funds high-impact research projects in those areas to advance discoveries.

“The goal of the PCARP is to diminish the burden of pancreatic cancer among service members, veterans, their families, and the American public. The mission of the PCARP is to promote rigorous, innovative, high-impact research that leads to new pancreatic cancer diagnostic and therapeutic tools through collaboration.”

- Program Announcement from the Department of Defense

The creation of the program was a huge win for the pancreatic cancer community, but we must keep advocating for more funding for it so that the high-quality research grant applications being submitted can get approved. It’s the only way to make significant progress in pancreatic cancer research.

Take Action

Raise your voice! Join us in urging Congress to provide $20 million for the Pancreatic Cancer Research Program at the DoD this year!

History of Pancreatic Cancer Funding at the DoD

PanCAN has advocated for increased pancreatic cancer research funding at the National Cancer Institute since 1999. In 2011, we began to push for pancreatic cancer to be included, along with about 13 other cancers, in a shared research program at the DoD called the Peer-Reviewed Cancer Research Program (PRCRP). Thanks to our grassroots advocates, it was included.

We often get asked: "Why the Department of Defense?" It’s because the DoD manages medical research programs to develop breakthroughs that benefit both the military and the American public by funding "high impact, high risk and high gain projects that other agencies may not venture to fund." A disease must be listed as eligible by Congress and have military relevance to be included in DoD research programs. Research shows that among some U.S. veterans, there is evidence of increased risk of death from pancreatic cancer.

After pancreatic cancer was added to the program in 2011, Congress continued to include it, and year after year, many pancreatic cancer grant applications were received, but only a small percentage were funded. This led PanCAN to begin advocating to create a stand-alone pancreatic cancer research program, and in 2019 the Pancreatic Cancer Research Program was created.

Congress sets the funding amounts for the individual research programs at the DoD each year. That’s why it’s important that PanCAN advocates continue to urge their members of Congress to fund the program each year and provide necessary increases in order to keep pace with the urgent need for progress for patients.

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