NYT: Grant System Leads Cancer Researchers to Play It Safe

July 1, 2009 at 9:46 pm Leave a comment

An outstanding NYT article to be found by clicking here.

A couple of excellent points made by readers in response to this piece:

HJBoitel talks about using super-computers to “mine” our health data for patterns.

“The United States will start getting serious about medical research and will start getting meaningful results when it is acknowledged that prevention and cure is not about doctors or institutions or competition or money — it is about data. We spend large amounts of money to track a small number of patients in a limited and often inconsistent way, and the results often are what you would expect in a pin the tall on the donkey approach.”

With HJBoitel’s approach, would everything that needs to be captured get captured?  I’m not sure.  But it’s one more thought along the same lines as what I proposed before.  Click here to find his entire, thoughtful comment.

My favorite comment came from Norma Greenfield, a cancer researcher and survivor.  She had a similar experience to mine with regard being interviewed for a study and being disappointed in its scope.

“While I was undergoing the chemotherapy treatment I was asked to participate in a survey about potential environmental causes of cancer. Since I had been exposed to many carcinogens in my life I was eager to participate in the survey…I expected that the study would ask about my exposure to carcinogens, birth control bills and the effects of estrogen replacement therapy. Instead I was asked whether I had been sexually molested when I was a child before puberty (I had not been) and I was asked detailed questions about my weekly consumption of green peppers and sweet potatoes. I was disgusted that grant money funded the study that I participated in…Too much funding depends on knowing the right people (mainly an old boys network), and not whether one is doing innovated, relevant research.”

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Entry filed under: New Medical Ressearch Approaches, New Research Approaches. Tags: , , .

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