2009.03.11 – Specter Announces $5.5 million to Study Cancer Cluster

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Specter Announces $5.5 million to Study Cancer Cluster

Funding to study rare blood disease contained in FY09 Omnibus Appropriations bill

Washington, D.C.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009 –

U.S. Senator Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) today announced that the U.S. Congress has approved $5.5 million in federal funding to study the cancer cluster in the Carbon, Luzerne and Schuylkill tri-county region. The funding, approved last night by the full Senate, is contained in the Fiscal Year 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Bill.

“I am pleased that the Congress has approved this funding to study the higher than usual incidence of the blood disease in the area,” said Senator Specter. “The community is very concerned about the problem and they’re entitled to the best answers science can give them.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will receive $5 million to conduct assessments of Polycythemia Vera (PV) trends and associated risk factors, including potential environmental risk factors, in PV cluster areas or in areas with potential environmental risk factors. These funds may also be used to evaluate efforts to improve reporting of PV and other blood cancers to cancer registries. Additionally, Drexel University’s School of Public Health in Philadelphia will receive $499,000 to conduct studies of the rare blood disease.

Senator Specter has long advocated for federal support to examine the higher than usual incidence of PV in the Carbon, Luzerne and Schuylkill tri-county region. He participated in the October 2006 announcement of the initial study, a statistical analysis of regional health data by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the CDC.

Most recently, on October 6, 2008 Senator Specter convened a meeting in Hazleton, PA with community members and officials who have been directly involved with the blood disorder, including residents who have advocated for attention and study of the region’s health problems, community members who are suffering from PV, the doctors that treat them, and officials from Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

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