Momentum Builds Toward $25 Million Prize to Curb Pet Overpopulation–Dr. Gary Michelson
Posted Aug 03 2011 4:21pm
We like Dr. Michelson at the Medical Quack as I wrote back a few months ago with an update and background information that was featured in the LA Times. I think everyone else who reads here too that is an animal lover and any doctor who works in healthcare can agree, it’s nice to see someone’s work rewarded and not ripped off by companies like Medtronic which was what happened to him and he fought and was well compensated in court and he’s now retired after years of practicing as a surgeon and inventor at the same time. Many of the devices he created are still used today in surgical procedures.
He announced this program a few years ago, the day after the Blue Cross X-Prize publicity stent of a $10 million dollar prize to solve healthcare and you by today's world of care that’s exactly what it was. Dr. Michelson though has his prize of $25 million for the sterilization of cats and dogs without a surgical procedure hanging out there and it’s moving along according to the press release below.
You can read below for the details on the grants given so far and a little bit about the investigators working on the project. Nice. BD
Los Angeles, CA – (August 3, 2011) – Across the world, research is under way at more than a dozen institutions to use cutting-edge science in the development of a non-surgical sterilant for dogs and cats – an innovative experiment in solving the problem of pet overpopulation and chance for scientists to cash in on a $25 million prize.
In 2008, Found Animals Foundation , a privately funded Los Angeles-based non-profit group, announced the launch of this unique program, the Michelson Prize & Grants , named after Found Animals’ creator Dr. Gary Michelson, a billionaire orthopedic spinal surgeon who wants to see a decrease in the 3-4 million animals euthanized each year in U.S. shelters. In addition to the $25 million incentive to the first person to successfully develop a nonsurgical method for sterilizing cats and dogs, the Michelson Grants in Reproductive Biology offers up to a total of $50 million in funding for promising research in pursuit of non-surgical sterilization technology.
Since the announcement, Found Animals has received more than 150 letters of intent for the Michelson Grants , and has invited over 50 investigators to submit full grant proposals. To date, 15 of those grants have been approved totaling more than $6 million in research funding. Currently, research is under way everywhere from Australia and Argentina to California and Virginia, among several other states in the U.S.
“We are thrilled with the high level of interest we’ve seen from qualified applicants to date and we are confident that we’ll see many more proposals of equal excellence in the future,” said Aimee Gilbreath, Executive Director of Found Animals. “What’s even more exciting is that we’re seeing proposals based on new technologies such as nanocontainers and gene silencing, meaning that researchers are applying cutting edge science to this problem – which was our hope when launching the program.”
Surgical spay/neuter procedures are the current standard for sterilizing animals. While this approach is relatively safe and effective, it is not an ideal. Spay and neuter procedures require general anesthesia and an adequately equipped surgical facility, both of which create obstacles for pet owners such as high costs, transportation of animals and inherent risks of surgery. A single dose, non-surgical sterilant would be a more effective solution to defer cost and inconvenience for many pet owners, according to experts.
To review proposals for funding, regular meetings are scheduled with the Found Animals’ Scientific Advisory Board , made up of top scientists from a wide variety of relevant fields including reproductive biology, immunology, biotechnology, drug development, and animal welfare. Many of the board members have recently completed their first two-year term and are currently being renewed for a second term.
“Through the interest we’ve seen so far, we’re confident this innovative program is moving in the right direction and we’re excited about what’s in store with this group of elite researchers,” said Shirley Johnston, D.V.M., Ph.D., a leading expert on animal reproduction and a respected veterinarian, who serves as Director of Scientific Research for Found Animals and oversees the prize and grants program.
The official application process for the $25 million Michelson Prize is now available on the Found Animals website, in addition to valuable resources for scientists interested in applying for the prize and grant program, including presentations from the symposium on non-surgical sterilization, a canine and feline reproduction guide and a toolkit of quality assurance best practices including downloadable forms.
Found Animals Foundation is a privately funded Los Angeles based non-profit organization dedicated to animal welfare issues and led by business and medical professionals. The Found Animals team works directly within the animal welfare community to improve animal shelter processes, fund pet sterilization research, promote effective animal welfare policy, and provide funding to area shelters and spay/neutering clinics. The organization also sponsors and promotes pet adoption, pet spay and neutering, microchipping programs, and various animal and pet-related events.