Tester backing research into Gulf War Illness
Senator pushes for assistance to support Montana veterans and their families
(HELENA, Mont.) – Senator Jon Tester is calling for increased research and treatment for Gulf War Illness, a chronic disease that affects 250,000 Gulf War veterans.
Gulf War Illness is a multi-symptom illness that is likely caused by exposure to toxins, chemical weapons and other hazardous substances found in war zones. Although it takes its name from the 1991 Gulf War, it has affected U.S. service members from other conflicts as well. Symptoms can include fatigue, headaches, joint pain, and memory problems.
Tester, Montana’s only member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, has been an advocate for greater research into the disease since coming to the Senate.
“Exposure to toxins, chemical weapons, and other hazardous substances is a permanent risk for our members of the armed services,” Tester wrote Senate leaders. “We believe a continuing investment would make a significant difference in the quality of life for ill Gulf War veterans and their families.”
The investment would support pilot studies, collaborative treatment research plans, and clinical trials of treatments that showed previous effectiveness. Disease researchers recently completed the first successful pilot study of a medication to treat one of the disease’s major symptoms.
“The men and women who have served, and serve, in our military deserve the attention this program pays to the consequences of fighting in war zones where chemicals and other substances are used,” Tester added.
Tester is requesting $25 million from the Defense Department’s Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program.
Tester’s letter to Senate Appropriations Committee leaders is available below and online HERE.
April 19, 2012
The Honorable Daniel K. Inouye, Chairman
The Honorable Thad Cochran, Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Defense
Committee on Appropriations
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Chairman Inouye and Ranking Member Cochran:
We respectfully request your support to provide $25 million within the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) to fund Gulf War Illness treatment research in the Fiscal Year 2013 Department of Defense (DOD) Appropriations bill.
In a 2010 report, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recognized that the chronic multisymptom illness affecting 250,000 Gulf War veterans is a serious disease that also affects other U.S. military forces, and called for a major national research effort to identify treatments. The scientific community has responded with a dramatic increase in the quality and quantity of proposals submitted to GWIRP. Most encouraging, GWIRP-funded researchers have completed the first successful pilot study of a medication to treat one of the major symptoms of Gulf War illness.
We would like to thank you for adding Gulf War Illness research to the DOD Peer Reviewed Research Programs in past years. This support for pilot studies of promising treatments and diagnostic markers, for clinical trials of treatments shown effective in earlier pilot studies, and for the execution of collaborative treatment research plans developed by consortiums of scientists has already borne success. For example, CDMRP-funded researchers at the University of California, San Diego, reported last year on the first successful medication treatment study in the history of Gulf War Illness research.
The CDMRP Gulf War Illness program, which is succeeding where others have failed, only exists through the action of Congress. We believe a continuing investment through CDMRP would make a significant difference in the quality of life for ill Gulf War veterans and their families.
Exposure to toxins, chemical weapons, and other hazardous substances is a permanent risk for our members of the armed services. The men and women who have served, and serve, in our military deserve the attention this program pays to the consequences of fighting in war zones where chemicals and other substances are used.
Jon Tester et al.