A friend, Lynnora Geoghegan, sent these thoughts to me about the below article on drug research for Alzheimer’s. I got permission to share here and hence have a little post.
This research is for drug development, not for preventative Alzheimer’s care, or insight into why or how it occurs. The incestuous nature of governmental health bodies and pharmaceutical companies is outlined for all to see in the article: a former scientific director at NIMH is now head of central nervous system research at Eli Lilly. This is a serious conflict of interest people, and the research amounts to nothing more than future drug profits.
“Biomarkers are not necessarily definitive. It remains to be seen how many people who have them actually get the disease. But that is part of the research project.”
Remember how genetics was supposed to revolutionize medicine? And it did not? Keep the phrase ‘biomarker’ in mind.
And now the article being referred to from the New York Times:
In the end, the National Institute on Aging agreed to pay $41 million, other institutes contributed $2.4 million, and 20 companies and two nonprofit groups contributed an additional $27 million to get the project going and sustain it for the first six years. Late last year, the institute contributed an additional $24 million and the foundation was working on a renewal of the project for another five years that would involve federal and private contributions of the same magnitude as the initial ones.
At first, the collaboration struck many scientists as worrisome — they would be giving up ownership of data, and anyone could use it, publish papers, maybe even misinterpret it and publish information that was wrong.
I will remain skeptically hopeful that someone who has access to all this information will use it for purposes other than the creation of drugs that we might prevent Alzheimer’s altogether some day rather than create a sounder market for pharma to exploit more vulnerable people.