Sharon Begley and Mary Carmichael, of Newsweek magazine, are asking the tough questions about where the cures are for diseases such as MS. In their recent cover story, Desperately Seeking Cures, they explore the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) failing research method of “here’s some money; go discover something,” in order to emphasize the positive outcome from a model that is not only founded on the cooperation of scientists sharing their discoveries with each other before they are published but also the developmental footwork that is necessary after those discoveries are made. A model like the Accelerated Research Collaboration (ARC) we use here at the Myelin Repair Foundation, which caused MRF to get mentioned in the article along with other private foundations.
The reason that the ARC model of the Myelin Repair Foundation is catching the attention of Newsweek is because this method discourages the isolated work ethic that most scientists utilize to keep their discoveries to themselves. By working in isolation, these scientists are ultimately charting their own courses down paths that can deviate from the main goal of medical research, finding a cure, because they become more interested in their intellectual areas than a new treatment. In any attempt to find a cure for a disease, like MS, it is crucial to weave the minds of scientists together, pushing them in the direction of the same goal. This is exactly what the MRF does while the NIH does not.
In the article , Begley and Carmichael write, “If we are serious about rescuing potential new drugs from the valley of death, then academia, the NIH, and disease foundations will have to change how they operate.” The “valley of death” is the term given to the barriers that blockade scientific discoveries from turning into a new treatment. This is something that, as Begley and Carmichael point out in their article, the MRF is overcoming with their ARC model.
This mention in Newsweek demonstrates that the MRF is getting recognized for its efforts to overcome the boundaries in the current system of treatment development. This is vital to MS patients because under the current system, scientists “cannot and will not collaborate for fear that it will jeopardize funding, patent protection, and publication,” and it is the collaboration of these scientists that the MRF believes is required to find a cure for MS.
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