Grant system leads medical researchers to play it safe

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Grant system leads medical researchers to play it safe

Postby cheerleader » Sun Jun 28, 2009 11:20 am

a terrific article in the NY Times today. Specifically deals with cancer research, and why doctors who think "outside the box" are not funded-


“Scientists don’t like talking about it publicly,” because they worry that their remarks will be viewed as lashing out at the health institutes, which supports them, said Dr. Richard D. Klausner, a former director of the National Cancer Institute.
But, Dr. Klausner added: “There is no conversation that I have ever had about the grant system that doesn’t have an incredible sense of consensus that it is not working. That is a terrible wasted opportunity for the scientists, patients, the nation and the world.”

A Big Idea Without a Backer
For 25 years, Eileen K. Jaffe received federal grants to run her lab. As a senior scientist at the Fox Chase Cancer Center, with a long list of published papers in prestigious journals, she is a respected, established researcher.

Then Dr. Jaffe stumbled upon results that went against textbook explanations, suggesting that it might be possible to find an entirely new class of drugs that could disable proteins that fuel cancer cells. Now she wants to find chemicals that might be developed into such drugs.

But her grant proposal was rejected out of hand by the institutes of health, not even discussed by a review panel. She had no preliminary data showing that the idea was likely to work, something reviewers always want to see, and the idea was just too unprecedented.

Dr. Jaffe epitomizes the scientist who realizes that if she were to single-mindedly pursue her unorthodox idea, her “career may be ruined in the process,” in the words of Dr. Brawley of the American Cancer Society.

Dr. Jaffe is just conceiving her project; it is much to soon to know whether it will result in a revolutionary drug. And even if she does find potential new drugs, it is not clear that they will be effective. Most new ideas are difficult to prove, and most potential new drugs fail.

So Dr. Jaffe was not entirely surprised when her grant application to look for such cancer drugs was summarily rejected.

“They said I don’t have preliminary results,” she said. “Of course I don’t. I need the grant money to get them.”
Dr. Young, chancellor at Fox Chase, said Dr. Jaffe’s situation showed why people with bold new ideas often just give up.
“You can’t prove it will work in advance,” he said. “If you could, it wouldn’t be a high-risk idea.”

It is a long haul, Dr. Jaffe knows. And she has already had to downsize her lab. But, she said, she will persist.

link

With CCSVI, we have a model that is proven in vivo. Preliminary data is in and further data will be presented in September. Thank goodness Dr. Zamboni has private funding thru the Hilarescere Foundation. Not sure how Jacobs is funding their study. I'm currently looking for big donors for Dake at Stanford. Anyone have connections? PM me-
cheer
Husband dx RRMS 3/07
dx dual jugular vein stenosis (CCSVI) 4/09
http://ccsviinms.blogspot.com
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Postby Sharon » Sun Jun 28, 2009 11:26 am

Cheer - I think there was something posted that said the Hilarescere Foundation was helping to fund the Jacobs study. I will search.

BTW - great article. When you read something like this, it scares me.

Sharon
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