People funding research…cutting out the Charity Middleman

Cruzan Morton C.Innovating Openly: Researchers and Patients Turn to Crowdsourcing to Collaborate on Clinical Trials, Drug Discovery, and More. IEEE Pulse. 2014 Jan-Feb;5(1):63-67.

Several yars ago, Stanford University researchers stumbled across something unexpected. In the course of examining the autopsied brain tissue of people with multiple sclerosis (MS), a team in Standford noticed significantly elevated levels of angiotensin enzymes and receptors, better known for their role in hypertension. This led them to believe that perhaps an angiotensin inhibitor, such as lisinopril, a common, inexpensive, and relatively safe high blood pressure medication, might effectively reduce the damaging flareups of MS. In fact, when they administered the drug to mice crippled by MS-like inflammatory nerve damage, it reversed their paralysis.

With governments in austerity and purses tight, stopping charity is one way to save a few pence. Yet this is a vital source of research money and the thing that drives change. One solution to this funding gap is to find a philanthropic donor…if there are any out there please contact ProfG….another is using crowdsourcing. 

Crowdsourcing is the process of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people, and especially from an online community, rather than from traditional employees or suppliers

Standford is perhaps the place for MS-related innovative science…… and it is amazing how they have used the science literature e.g. Nature Journal to get free advertising for this by unsuspecting science journalisits….or perhaps me a blogger. The question is whether this can raise the necesssary cash to really do trials….Paulo Zambonis group were doing this to to fund the Brave Dreams trial to do CCSVI I guess long before the Californian Campaign. The ice bucket campaign shows that you can generate alot of money fast if you get the right engagement.

The White Knights need to look at this closely.

However, rather than feather the nest to get people to pay for your company so you get rich out of the deal which could occur, maybe this is the way to get patient-power enacted. You have been clamouring for studies of diet and things such as LDN. Maybe with a campaign you could get enough cash to do studies….if you have enough cash to fund a study few interested academics would turn money down. So work is commissioned…however it would need to be properly costed first before starting this.

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  • Ah yes but getting right level of engagement is not easy. I'm also not sure one could raise enough for a trial, with crowd funding you looking at around £8000 as a good average, £30,000 is good, anything more is amazing and difficult to achieve. With the right strategy combining many forms of micropayment and the right level of engagement, it may be possible to raise more but who'd do this? I do this in my work and know how much effort it takes, so unless you have some very committed people with the time and the knowledge to drive this forward, it could be quite disappointing. But I think it is, in principle, a potential way forward, but there needs to be realistic expectations.

  • to put it in perspective.Academics do trials on the cheap and it is 1 to 3 million pounds. when a company does it the actual costs they pay are substantially more.

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