Inspired to find a cure for diseases, spurred not mainly by the lure of money but by the responsibility to alleviate suffering
For those of us who have not yet been inspired to find a cure for any
of the myriad of debilitating diseases, this article (1) by Nobel laureate
Dr. Joseph E Stiglitz could be a wake up call. Not for the money aspect
mainly, but to alleviate suffering. Money and fame is just a follow-up,
and maybe an incentive to work harder. This article could also encourage
governments/philanthropic foundations to float prize funds, along the
model of the Nobel Prize and the comparatively smaller Laskar Awards.
Dr. Bruce Charlton, Editor-in-Chief of “Medical Hypothesis” espoused
a similar thought in a recent editorial (2) and points to late Dr. David
Horrobin (the founder of “Medical Hypothesis”) for putting forward a
similar idea in 1986, saying that large cash prizes should be used as an
incentive to find cures (3).
In this connection it is worth mentioning that Prize4Life (4), a
nonprofit organization announced its $1 Million Amyotrophic Lateral
Sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's Disease/ Motorneuron Disease) ALS/MND
Biomarker Challenge on November 6, 2006. An award of $1 million is to be
presented to researchers who discover a biomarker for ALS. Five $15,000
prizes are also proposed to be given for the best ALS biomarker proposals
due by March 2007.
A step in the right direction has already been initiated.
1) Stiglitz JE. Scrooge and intellectual property rights. BMJ
2) Charlton BG. Mega-prizes in medicine: Big cash awards may
stimulate useful and rapid therapeutic innovation. Medical Hypotheses 68;
3) Horrobin DF. Glittering prizes for research support, Nature
Competing interests: No competing interests