Posted: March 18, 2011 10:24 AM : The Huffington Post

“At last week’s Innovative Minds in Prostate Cancer meeting, the speakers included not only doctors, but patients. We patients also help review the grant applications of the scientists. We seek innovative proposals to cure or slow prostate cancer, or reduce its notorious pain, and the effects of treatments on sexual and mental functioning.

We celebrated the approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of denosumab, which decreases the risk of bone fractures, and of taxotere, which adds three months to life, and Provenge, which adds five months; and the expected approval this year of abiraterone and MDV 3100, which appear to add 4 to 6 months of survival. And we cheered the news that promising new medications are entering the final phases of clinical research: dasatinib, ipilimumab, cixutuxumab, sunitinib, TAK -700, tasquinimod, and XL-184.

This progress encourages more patients to enroll in clinical trials, which will increase pharmaceutical investment in this disease, and bring the best young doctors to the field.

But a silence came over the audience as one patient distributed a news release that quoted Sen. John McCain saying, “The aspects of the Defense Appropriations bill that need to be taken away, eliminated, are $300 million for medical research.” He cited “$150 million for peer-reviewed breast cancer research… $80 million for peer-reviewed prostate cancer research… worthy causes, but none have anything to do with defending this country.”

His comments prompted surprise, hurt, and anger, because many of the patients and doctors in the room (m