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I met a molecular biologist last week at BRINK 2015 (which was excellent). He’s turned his attention to oncology.
I paraphrase, but he basically asked if we knew any billionaires with cancer.
He wasn’t being elitist. Or looking to deny service to anyone.
No, he said a billionaire has the urgency and resources to fight cancer with the best experts in the world.
The billionaire won’t have access to just one institution (as most patients do) but an ENTIRE TEAM of oncologists, academics, researchers, and technologists to select the best choice for his specific cancer.
The wealthy patient’s doctor also could have tissue samples taken and analyzed before treatment.
My new friend believes this approach – analyzing cancerous tissue and making ALL available choices known to a patient – instead of depending on one or two well-meaning oncologists will yield significantly better outcomes.
He’d like to create a database of outcomes under “all options explored” conditions and compare them to “current standard of care” conditions.
He believes he’d be able to demonstrate results found working with the wealthy could eventually be applied (economically!) to those that can’t pay for similar treatment.
Which brings us back to his search for billionaires, because they will act with an urgency and depth not found in a typical agency. And if my friend collects enough “all options explored” data points, we might find a better way to treat deadly disease.
What do you think?
Can the brute force of a billionaire’s resources break through slower development bureaucracies? Will throwing money at a problem accelerate clearances through FDA, for example?
P.S. Another point he made: “Clinical trials are often insufficient to help the patients in the trial survive. A clinical trial typically helps FUTURE patients.”
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Make it a great week.
Merrill Jackson, PE
Beth Ann Fiedler, PhD
Camilo Andres Nieva Martinez
Paul van Saarloos
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Eli Romanova - I think what was meant by Steve Jobs being an anomaly is that he had a form of pancreatic cancer that was treatable but he chose not to treat it, at least initially, and would not have been a candidate for the article's thesis.
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