A Canadian teenager has scooped a CAN$5,000 prize and deserved glory after successfully wielding the power of a scientific supercomputing network to develop a mix of drugs which could be used to fight cystic fibrosis. Marshall Zhang, a Grade 11 student at Bayview Secondary School in Richmond Hill near Toronto, used Canada's …
Read the story and you'll see that Sanofi-Aventis is named as sponsor of the competition. If the idea is actually "stolen", then any patent granted to the thief would be invalid. If you think it's so bad for the pharma industry to make money out of the products it develops, would you rather it was all closed down? As for "exploiting misery", last time I checked, doctors and nurses get paid for what they do. Is that "exploiting misery"?
money and ethics don't mix... please don't suggest that they are working hard to cure, when really they are working hard to medicate.
Example, why do we constantly hear about obesity drugs, when really, it should be about eating properly and not selling crap processed food. But yet... let's medicate when no medication is needed. ;)
"Example, why do we constantly hear about obesity drugs, when really, it should be about eating properly"
That's because, unfortunately, there are some obese people that are just big fat lazy weak-willed bastards who have no intention of dieting or exercising and would rather pop a pill or get their gut stapled. I can speak from first hand observations of a family of 3 when on holiday who each attended the all-inclusive buffet 3 times for the main meal and 3 times each for the dessert. Every day. That's just plain fucking greedy and, no doubt, the target market.
This research apparently tested multiple(?) existing drugs as if taken together, which may mean that it doesn't get patented as a new treatment, but I don't know. The combination therapy checks out on the computer simulatiuon and it checks out in a little glass dish in a laboratory, and presumably does so substantially better than current treatment regimes, which, in turn, nowadays have a very good chance of getting you past age 18 before you need the lung transplant to keep you alive. But treating actual patients is different. None of this, by the way, is a joke.
poor big-pharma all those costs, small percentage probabiltiy of getting a viable product at the end of it all.
so kindly point out to me just why it is that the most profitable companies in all developed economies are bleedin pharmaceuticals???
$1 billion to develop painkillers - out of 20 attempts 1 gets to market, profit from that 1 $50 billion - overall profit $30 billion
thank god they are all such altruistic good guys, co i know i wouldnt be at all interested in those piddling little returns.
"So which large pharmacom will steal the idea, patent the results, and make a tidy profit out of exploiting misery?"
Yeah, much better if those companies didn't even exist and NOBODY made medicine at all. In fact, I bet that most of what you own comes from those evil corporations. Even worse, if you have a retirement plan I bet YOU are part of those faceless entities of evil!!!
You anti-corporate types are silly.
Now the down side is that it will take years (as stated) for the drug to be put through additional non-human trials, then a (few) human trials, FDA approval, etc before it will be available to the many individuals staring death in the face during that time, as most die by the age of 22 or so.... I'd certainly hate to be a sufferer just hitting the 20yr mark, knowing I'll die just a year or two before being able to be treated.
At least here in the US, one of the best funded disease-based foundations is the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (http://www.cff.org/). Likely they will throw large amounts of cash at any corporation willing to bring a drug to market (see the recent payment of $75 million over 5 years to a small biotech firm). And more importantly, this isn't a cure so much as a cocktail of drugs has the possibility of correcting the underlying defect enough to allow near-normal cell function. It's a similar approach to something the above biotech firm is doing with a number of drugs. It will make lots of money, as the genetic defect will still require daily dosage. Now, given that I hoover down 30+ pills a day for CF, I'll take a substantial reduction in that, especially if it's proactive therapy instead of reactive.
Also, at least in the US, CF drugs (and drugs for other "smaller" diseases and disorders) get what's called Orphan drug status, which means that there are greater patent protections to the developer, financial incentives, and often times expedited approval processes. The theory goes is that if you have a market of 50,000 for one drug, and a market of 5,000,000 for another drug, you're going to focus the time, energy, and money on the latter, cause if successful, you have a blockbuster (see dysfunction, erectile), while all you get for treating the 50,000 is a warm fuzzy feeling and a couple of bucks back for the effort. Is this the greatest arrangement in the world? No... but it's been extraordinarily effective at bringing quality treatments to those of us with rarer disorders.
And what I would be interested in seeing is if this kid found the same kind of drugs that Vertex has is Phase 2 and 3. Those were found in a similar way, using high-throughput computing to fold and shape proteins to see what might interact to existing chemical compounds.
Well here's prior art which I make on a regular basis.
500g caster sugar
250ml fresh lemon juice (that's about 6 large lemons)
Zest if you like more lemony goodness
Dissolve the sugar in 750ml water and simmer for a couple of minutes. Remove from the heat and add the lemon zest. Allow to cool.
Add the lemon juice. Put in the fridge until really cold.
Place the mixture in an icecream maker and churn until it starts to solidify. If you don't have a machine place in a shallow dish and freeze for an hour. Give it a good forking (fnarrr) to mix the ice with the unfrozen goop. Freeze again for another hour, repeat a couple more times until it is completely slushy. Whisk vigorously then freeze. It'll keep for up to a week in the freezer.
I suspect the cure for cystic fibrosis is somewhat more complex.
How the world works today:
Be much smarter than average and develop a drug that can cure millions of people = $5,000
Drive a car real fast around a track, kick a ball in a net or hit a ball with a stick = $10m pa
So not only does he get praise for me for being smart and doing some amazing useful work, but he also gains respect for not letting the prospect of getting very little reward for it.
More like him, and less of the overpaid useless morons please! That would mean starting to set rewards right.
...Then why does the article say that he discovered a -method- that might be used to -help in developing- specific aspects of a cure? That is very far from the attention-grabbing headline's claims.
Or is it just that the spokesman is understating the discovery as part of a conspiracy to protect the hegemony of the military-medical complex?
Quick! Get Noam Chomsky and the 9/11 truthers on this!
Some pharma-corp will be round his house tonight with an offer he cannot refuse, that's the last well see of the poor sod. He'll get help through college and Uni, then buried in some laboratory back room under a ton of research earning a pittance and making the pharma-corp stadium sized amounts of money on life-saving drugs.
Hopefully this lad will have enough sense to continue to be an asset and work for the benefit of mankind, however when you get older those bills need paying and a steady wage is very tempting.
In my life (now longer than many of my ancestors), I have been thankful on numerous occasions for the drugs/ pharmaceuticals that have saved me from much suffering, and on several occasions from death.
My wife also has been saved by the use of chemotherapy , so I regard them with kind thoughts.
Maybe when you get treatment for some nasty infection or disease you will change you rabid opinions.
My fiancé has CF and to hear this news was so uplifting. I am hopeful for the future now. I am truly amazed and thankful for this wonderful kid. Thank you!! I know more research needs to be done and we're probably still years away from making this available to the general public, but this is going to be life changing.
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