Friday, May 21, 2010

Bravo Newsweek!?

There is hope out there in the form of a Newsweek article in the May 31 issue. The article is called "Desperately Seeking Cures" by Sharon Begley and Mary Carrmichael. In it the authors strike some of the key themes I have been discussing regarding how senseless the current medical research environment is and how difficult is is to translate science into real-world cures. I am thrilled to see that someone else actually recognizes these fatal flaws in our quest for terminal disease cures.

They describe the well known "Valley of Death" that exists in translating science into cures and how the current way of doing things has created it. Frustrated NIH investigators are exemplified that cannot find the resources to reduce their work to clinical proof of concept and the flawed patent system which makes it impossible to patent findings already published is also cited. The purpose of the NIH is to commercialize its research as is the purpose of patents. Both instruments of cures are not working. Mention is also made of the redundancy of medical research and its lack of coordination, both of which have been discussed on this blog.

One would think that the authors have read this blog but the point is that we are not alone in recognizing this fundamental problem. Where are the Cures? this is the rallying cry that must ignite the fundamental changes required to remedy this tremendous and costly crisis. We are not lone voices in the wilderness.

This blog is the precursor of a book that I have given the tentative title, "Where are the Cures". The book has been in the works for three years and is 80% complete. It details the full spectrum of systemic flaws that inhibit the curing of terminal diseases and more importantly proposes some solutions on how to accelerate the generation of real world cures. The Newsweek article is the first example of the use of the phrase, "Where are the Cures" and I am thrilled that someone else appreciates this problem. It has been a lonely three years and this article will hopefully facilitate the completion of the book.

2 comments:

  1. There is so little trust anymore when what is needed is more collaboration. Everyone is working in a vacuum and only appear to be concerned with the fear that that if they share their ideas – someone will beat them to the grant submission, paper, patent or to the market. However, there are some of us out there that are trying a novel approach and looking at the whole “systems” approach to discovery, development and treatment with the intent to cure. I am tired of the old saying that pharma does not want to find cures because treating is profitable – the same could be said for documents. Do physicians and hospitals really want to find a cure for heart disease?? We need a fresh prospective but academia, medical community (and pharma) are slow to change.

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