The Cost of Cures

With modern technology and science’s ever increasing knowledge, we have seen huge leaps in the development of the world’s medical care and health systems. However, the cure for cancer has always mystified scientists and has seemed like it would never leave the realms of science fiction. Until now, that is thanks to two Swedish researchers who could be round the corner from a revolution that could change our lives forever after engineering a virus that attacks cancer.[1]

[protected]There might be a considerable wait before this new and seemingly too good-to-be-true drug becomes a familiar fixture in medicine cabinets. The virus has been proved to work on animals, however due to a lack of funding it has yet to be tested on humans. Current financial pressures mean that no Swedish charity or institution has the money available to take the risk on developing a drug from the virus. After all, the £1million needed to back it is a huge gamble on medicine whose effects on humans are still unknown.

The researchers behind this radical discovery; Professor Magnus Essand and Dr. Justyna Leja are deploying new tactics in a bid to get enough money behind their work. The scientists are looking at selling the name of their drug to the highest bidder. Much like philanthropists donating substantial sums to hospitals in the hope of having a wing named after them, Essand and Leja are hoping someone likes the idea of having a ground-breaking virus named in their honour and replace its current name, which is the not so snappy “Ad5[CgA-E1A-miR122]PTD.” However, this method is also suffering from the fact that if the virus is shown to have no effect on humans then the unlucky name-sake of the drug will be forgotten. The researchers are hoping the possibility of going down in medical history is too much to resist for someone.

Is it really necessary to generate funding in such a way though? The drug in question would surely be profitable for pharmaceutical companies. Even if Essand and Leja’s work turns out to be ineffective, major drugs companies could use their line of research and theories in tailoring other viruses for other specific needs.[2] However, according to many critiques, one of the main reasons the two Swedish researchers are turning to unusual funding solutions is because gene therapy has “fallen out of favour” when it comes to cancer treatments.[3]

However, if the selling of the name of Ad5[CgA-E1A-miR122]PTD does in fact take off, then we could see a complete change in the development of new drugs. New and alternative ways of funding drug research would hopefully spark the public’s interest in the industry and even the interest of corporations in the industry.[/protected]


[1]  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jan/04/2013-new-approach-fighting-cancer

[2]  http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/another-cancer-treatment/

[3]  http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/another-cancer-treatment/