Why do so few rich sick people fund medical research for treating their illness?

There are many people who have both chronic diseases and many finances - tens of millions of dollars or more. Nowadays, a part of this wealth is sufficient to create a prototype of therapy from scratch for many classes of diseases, if you are ready to wait ten or twenty years until they are in the clinic. Alternatively, for a faster result in a five-year term, this money will be enough to take a couple of promising potential treatment methods with initial animal studies and transfer them to prototype status. Not all diseases respond to this approach, but at least many of them. When you have a prototype, you openly license it to increase the chances for its recognition and improvement, and in the meantime pay a reputable clinic in one of the few regulated parts of the world to adapt it to your own use. This is possible for a wide range of medical diseases. Why do so few rich sick people go down this path?

In the scientific community of life extension, we tend to reflect on a very narrow aspect of this question , why, with very few exceptions, rich people do not fund research on rejuvenation. They grow old and die, as we all do. Why do they jump off a cliff like lemmings when they have a good chance to prevent this outcome? However, a broader issue is also of interest: not only rejuvenation, but all medical research. I thought about this after donating to the current DRACO initiative , a universal basis for creating effective treatments for any viral infections that are poorly controlled and infect a large number of people today. How many people live with resistant viral hepatitis and sufficient finances to finance DRACO and organize clinical trials? The cost of this is only a few million. I can remember a couple of people from the last generation of celebrities who are infected with dangerous infections. But, of course, this does not happen, they do not jump in to help build a prototype of therapy that could cure or control their infections. Therefore, it seems to me that perhaps our first problem in financing rejuvenation research is not really a matter of convincing the world that aging treatment is a real goal in medicine. This is a challenge and needs to be taken, but this is not the first problem. The first problem is that few of those who have finances and who have a chance to solve their own medical problems with financing, believe that they can achieve this goal.

We can discuss why this is the case. For example, first, simple ignorance of possibilities. Many people and their environment have no ideas that light their way. I believe that most people do not have a great understanding of medicine as a system that can be changed and improved. Like I did not have for half of my life. Interaction with doctors and knowledge of a particular disease, because you may be ill with them, may or may not provide this understanding - it depends a lot on a person. The state of medicine and even the expectation of better medicine can be mistaken for unbreakable rock. You can be good enough in what you do to become very rich, and yet not possess the ability or patience, or the desire — or the basis of ideas — to learn the science underlying medicine, to see what can be influenced by this science understand economics and connections well enough to understand how to change it. This is a high bar for those who have invested decades in particular their businesses and professions, a sharp turn in life and significant investments in time and desire.

Secondly, there is the effect of a poster with a child. Consider, for example, Michael J. Fox , the man who listed large sums on Parkinson's disease research over the past two decades. Unfortunately, this is a disease that will take a long time and a lot of funding to create effective treatment methods, as is the case for most neurodegenerative diseases in general. Diseases for which this is true tend to get a lot of attention from the press, as more work is done, as well as more philanthropy. Fox began philanthropy at a time when work in life science was very expensive and time consuming, but now it is much cheaper and faster. Today, medical research is much simpler than at the beginning of the century: all the tools have been greatly improved, as is knowledge about cell biochemistry. But people think about this and similar cases, and see decades of spending and no progress. Such things as significant progress both in understanding the disease and in creating the basis for its treatment, alas, are still not widely recognized in the world.

Thirdly, it is extremely expensive to move from a prototype to clinical practice through bureaucratic regulation. This is well understood, and that is why most people find medical research fantastically expensive. But it is not. Prototyping is cheap. Early studies can be so cheap that they can be funded to ordinary people like you or me . Only clinical trials are moderately expensive. But compliance with all regulatory requirements in the United States and Europe inflates the price a million times , limiting all significant clinical developments within the system to the deep-rooted interests of Big Pharma and ensuring that too many areas have never been developed and never even been fully explored, because they cannot be economically effective.

That is why I call for an open licensing strategy and medical tourism. Build a prototype, then give it to the public and carry out the treatment yourself. We live in a world in which the head of BioViva was (probably) the first person to undergo gene therapy with good results on animals, and did so at a price of a million or less. Regulation and its huge costs are not needed for the production of treatment that can be considered safe - and in any case, the choice of safety must be individual. Again, however, almost all people with money and conditions that allow doing such things from scratch, do not see it. Wealth does not give magical knowledge or wisdom. They, like most people, see medicine as an extremely expensive exercise, far surpassing their abilities, and they do not think of it as something that can be influenced in general.

Source: https://habr.com/ru/post/411165/

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