Coaxing Cancer Researchers To Take Your Money
Source: Wall Street Journal
Raising money for research has always been a fundamental problem in the development of new treatments for any medical condition, whether cancer or AIDS or anything else. With budgets tight and staffing often thin, many researchers scramble to find whatever funding they can. However, this is not the only problem in the development of new treatments.
What does one do if money is available, but no one wants it?
This is exactly the problem that Jeffrey and Marnie Kaufman ran into in 2004 when Marnie was diagnosed with the rare cancer adenoid cystic carcinoma. After her diagnosis, she and her husband met with David Sidranksy, director of head-and-neck-cancer research at John Hopkins University, and he explained to them that many researchers are fearful of starting work rare cancers because they may lose funding support in the future. With budgets tight at the publicly-funded cancer centers and grant-giving organizations, certain research just isn’t getting done.
With this in mind, the Kaufmans decided to try to and sponsor the research themselves. They quickly raised $700,000 and then hired a panel of experts who worked with them in developing project types they wanted to complete, after which, the Kaufmans themselves went out and hired the reserachers they wanted to work with. Because they were spearheading the project themselves, the process took noticeably quicker to begin – Jeffrey and Marnie contacted the researches, organized the teleconferences and established the scope and guidelines in a fraction of the time that it normally takes to begin a cancer research project.
The Kaufmans are not the only ones who are taking medical research into their own hands. The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is doing something very similar. Instead of allocating most of its research funds into projects and ideas that began with other groups or organizations or individuals, they – like the Kaufmans – are identifying the research they want completed and approaching pharmaceutical companies and other organizations to do it.