In what’s not really a “mobile health story,” we’re talking about Isaac Yonemoto and his effort to make cancer treatments more affordable. His Project Marilyn is looking to raise $75,000 to make open sourced, patent-free cancer drugs.
The concept roots back from the 1970’s when Russian scientists first came up with a parent compound to treat cancer using synthetic biology.The idea is to use a compound sequenced from microscopic bug cultures to treat cancer. This concept roots back from the 1970’s when Russian scientists first came up with a parent compound to treat cancer using synthetic biology. At that time, they found their compound caused heart defects.
Later on, a researcher at the University of Maryland revisited the idea and discovered that cutting out an oxygen molecule made her compound likely to be both safer and more effective than the original. Yonemoto picked the work up and now wants to run an experiment to prove the researcher’s initial work.
Not everyone can afford the proper care, and Yonemoto believes patent-free medicine could be (a part of) the solution. “The software industry and the open-source movement have shown that patenting is not necessary for innovation. Releasing without a patent means the drugs will be cheaper and it will be easier to build on the work to make improved drugs or drug combinations. Releasing without a patent means expanded access to drugs in countries that can’t afford extensive licensing and export agreements,” he writes on the campaign website Indysci.org.
The plan is to start clinical trials in January or February of next year.If Yonemoto manages to get the money he needs, he’ll buy lab space and tools, and conduct the actual experiment on mice. The campaign initially started with a goal of $50,000, but once that was met, he created a larger goal of $75,000 to include a couple other compounds to work with. The plan is to start clinical trials in January or February of next year.
Right now, the global market for anticancer drugs is worth more than $1 trillion, with the average monthly cost of a brand-name cancer drug in the U.S. going for about $10,000, according to the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics.