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DOD Cancer Research Program Aims to 'End Cancer as We Know It Today'

Image of Dr. Craig Shriver is leading a renewed DOD/DHA effort to significantly expand cancer research and save lives through personalized medical treatments using proteogenomics. Shriver is director of the John P. Murtha Cancer Center at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, and professor of surgery at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences. (Photo: Bernard Little, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center). Dr. Craig Shriver is leading a renewed DOD/DHA effort to significantly expand cancer research and save lives through personalized medical treatments using proteogenomics. Shriver is director of the John P. Murtha Cancer Center at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, and professor of surgery at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences. (Photo: Bernard Little, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center)

Defense Department health officials will discuss cancer research efforts with the aim to reduce cancer and cancer-related deaths across the Military Health System.

Part of a government-wide White House initiative called Cancer Moonshot, the DOD component will be rolled out May 4 at an event sponsored by the DOD's Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland.

The effort marks a significant expansion of a program that began in 2016, when the DOD, Department of Veterans Affairs, and the National Cancer Institute created the Applied Proteogenomics Organizational Learning and Outcomes (APOLLO) Network.

The initial effort in 2016 was also part of a government-wide effort that created a network of 13 DOD and VA hospitals that launched eight cancer-specific programs, including studies in lung, breast, prostate, ovarian, pancreatic, testicular, and brain cancers.

Over time, the Cancer Moonshot program will expand the APOLLO Network to all DHA hospitals and extend its research efforts to include all cancer types. The new APOLLO trial network is part of a recent White House "reignition" of the Cancer Moonshot.

"We developed two robust and ongoing programs during the original Cancer Moonshot and will leverage those lessons learned as well as new opportunities to support the nation's warfighters and veterans through our new DOD initiatives," said Dr. Craig Shriver, Professor of Surgery at USU. He is director of USU's Murtha Cancer Research Program and the John P. Murtha Cancer Center at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. The other program is the DOD Framingham, which uses the DOD Serum Repository to study cancer biomarkers in active duty service members.

What is Proteogenomics?

The emerging field of proteogenomics aims to better predict how individual patients will respond to cancer therapy by screening their tumors for both genetic abnormalities and protein information.

Specifically, it involves combining protein analysis and gene analysis of specimens taken from patients.

Most cancer drugs target proteins, so researchers hope that combining protein analysis and gene analysis will improve doctors' ability to predict tumor response to treatment and, eventually, to match a specific individual's tumor with the right drug, DOD said.

Goals from the White House

As Vice President, Joe Biden was charged with establishing the Cancer Moonshot to reduce cancers significantly through an accelerated research program. During his presidential campaign and first State of the Union address as president in 2021, he has continued to champion this initiative.

The reignition of the initiative contains "new ambitious goals: to reduce the death rate from cancer by at least 50% over the next 25 years and improve the experience of people and their families living with and surviving cancer — and, by doing this and more, end cancer as we know it today," the White House said.

May 4 Roundtable

The Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences will host the DOD's Cancer Moonshot virtual roundtable on May 4 from 1-2 p.m. Eastern Time. Shriver will moderate the roundtable, "A Conversation on Cancer Health Equity and Military-relevant Environmental Exposure."

It's part of a day-long series of federal agency events sponsored by the White House initiative.

The DOD roundtable will be streamed live from USU on May 4. Participants will include:

  • Jerry Lee, chief science and innovation officer, Ellison Institute for Transformative Medicine
  • Jie Lin, Murtha senior epidemiologist
  • Patricia Hastings, VA chief consultant, Health Outcomes Military Exposures
  • Warren Casey, acting chief, Predictive Toxicology Branch, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health

Military cancer survivors and partners of survivors also will participate in the discussion. They include:

  • Army Chief Warrant Officer 4 Charles Felder
  • U.S. Public Health Service Lt. Cmdr. Jennifer Jabara
  • Coast Guard partner Melinda DeLoatch-Speight
  • Marine Corps partner Homa Shafii-Schweers
  • Marine Corps Sgt. Michael Christian

Hosting the roundtable will be:

  • Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Seileen Mullen
  • Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Dr. David Smith

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Pelvic Health Rehabilitation: A Mission Critical Resource that Enables Military Readiness

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6/7/2023
U.S. Army Lt Col. (Dr.) Leigh Anne Lechanski, department chief of rehabilitation at Eisenhower Army Medical Center, guides a patient through a pelvic floor muscle exercise training session using a surface electromyography biofeedback system. This intervention gives patients a visual aid and objective information about muscle activation in the pelvic floor structures. (Courtesy Photo)

Pelvic floor muscle dysfunction can present with symptoms such as pelvic pain, incontinence, constipation, abdominal weakness, and pelvic organ prolapse. These conditions can significantly impact female service members' physical and emotional health.

TRICARE Preventive Health Benefits Women Should Know

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Eating well, exercising often, and getting enough sleep are habits that can help you live your healthiest life. And when it comes to feeling and staying well, getting preventive health care is also a must.

Walk-in Contraception Services at Military Medical Treatment Facilities

DHA Publication
2/8/2023

Policy Number: 6025.09

Establishes DHA's procedures for implementation of walk-in contraception services at all Military Medical Treatment Facilities, for Active Duty members of the Armed Forces and for eligible beneficiaries of the Military Health System on a space available basis.

Acute Concussion Care Pathway: MACE 2 and PRA Training

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The Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence is hosting a combined Military Acute Concussion Evaluation 2 and Progressive Return to Activity clinical recommendation virtual training.

Working Together to Improve Black Maternal Health

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4/28/2023
The Mother Infant Care Center team at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center ensures patients receive safe, high-quality care, equitable, culturally diverse and inclusive care as a leader in advanced childbirth health care, according to WRNMMC Chief of Staff Navy Capt. (Dr.) Kelly Elmore, an OB/GYN. WRNMMC celebrated Black Maternal Health Week during April 11-17. (Photo by Aisha Lomax, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center)

“Black Maternal Health Week is a reminder that so many families experience pain, neglect, and loss during what should be one of the most joyous times of their lives. It is an urgent call for action,” states a proclamation signed by President Joe Biden in observance of Black Maternal Health Week 2023, observed April 11-17.

MHS Video On Sexual Assault in the Military

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Ms. Seileen Mullen, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, stopped by DHA headquarters to discuss everyone's role in preventing sexual harassment and assault and DHA's unique role in treating patients after sexual trauma. Sexual assault is a real problem within our military. Everyone in the military community can play a role in preventing this crime and creating a zero-tolerance atmosphere that supports survivors. Visiting the Safe Helpline website for more information or to talk to a counselor. https://safehelpline.org/

Blanchfield Army Community Hospital Mom & Me Program Provides Specialized Support to Military Families

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Audrey Sundbye, a certified lactation consultant at Blanchfield Army Community Hospital,  checks the weight of U.S. Army Spc. Jaqueline Kerchner’s baby following his feeding at a Mom & Me meeting in the hospital on March 20. Mom & Me provides breastfeeding mothers of infants age newborn to 12 months, walk-in access to the hospital’s lactation consultants. (Photo: Maria Christina Yager, Blanchfield Army Medical Hospital)

There was a party recently during Blanchfield Army Community Hospital’s breastfeeding support group, Mom & Me. Group moms and babies gathered round in support and a dinosaur birthday cake was nearby. The Mom & Me program connects and provides breastfeeding mothers with lactation consultants.

U.S. Army Colonel Says it’s OK to Take a Knee with Breast Cancer

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In 2020 , U.S. Army Col Theresa Lewis, was diagnosed with breast cancer. She went through treatment, but keeping a leadership role working long hours like she was used to became increasingly difficult. (Courtesy photo)

U.S. Army Col. Theresa Lewis, a registered nurse, spent the last 29 years taking care of soldiers. “I was a private at Fort Stewart and my dream was to return to Fort Stewart to retire there.” She did come back to Fort Stewart as the deputy commander of nursing of Winn Army Community Hospital.

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Frequently Asked Questions on Reproductive Health Care

Publication
2/16/2023

On Oct. 20, 2022, the Secretary of Defense released a memorandum, “Ensuring Access to Reproductive Health Care,” directing the Department take a series of actions to ensure Service members and their families can access non-covered reproductive health care. On Feb. 16, 2023, the Department of Defense released those directed policies, which will be effective no later than 30 days from Feb. 16, 2023.

DOD Releases Policies to Ensure Access to Non-Covered Reproductive Health Care

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2/16/2023
A captain deploys, while pregnant wife stays home

The Department of Defense has released the directed policies on command notification of pregnancy, administrative absence for non-covered reproductive health care, and travel allowances for non-covered reproductive health care.

Command Notification of Pregnancy

Fact Sheet
2/15/2023

This policy clarifies when a Service member’s pregnancy status is shared with commanders, standardizes and extends the timeframe for Service members to inform their commanders about a pregnancy, and reinforces that commanders must always exercise objectivity and discretion when handling reproductive health care issues.

Travel for Non-Covered Reproductive Health Care Services

Fact Sheet
2/15/2023

This regulation ensures Service members and eligible dependents are eligible for travel and transportation allowances to access non-covered reproductive health care services when timely access to non-covered reproductive health care services is not available within the local area of the member’s permanent duty station, temporary duty location, or the last location the dependent was transported on authorized government orders.

Overview: Ensuring Access to Non-Covered Reproductive Health Care

Fact Sheet
2/15/2023

These policies reflect our commitment to taking care of our people and ensuring that the entire Force remains ready and resilient. These policies ensure Service members are able to access non-covered reproductive health care regardless of where they are stationed.

Administrative Absence for Non-Covered Reproductive Health Care

Fact Sheet
2/15/2023

This policy provides Service members the ability to request an administrative absence from their normal duty stations in order to access, or accompany a dual-military spouse or dependent to access, non-covered reproductive health care without being charged leave.

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Last Updated: February 03, 2023
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