Good research and the free market

Hey everyone,


It’s my 500th post and I have been wrestling with some musings over ethics and the medical world of research.  As was the case with my 100th post, I feel like I want to do something a little off my beaten path.


If you’ll bear with me and wade through this post, I’d really enjoy seeing other people’s thoughts. 


A couple months back I got my hands on both Dr. Brownlee’s Banting Award presentation and his Diabetologia journal article.  I am hoping that I’m not violating anything by posting them in my documents here on Juvenation but I think they involve work every diabetic should, at least, review.  Dr. Brownlee believes he may have found a unified mechanism responsible for the complications brought on by diabetes.  He also has found an intervention that appears (in the now early human trials) to stop (and in some cases reverse) the complications and effect all of the pathways significantly.  The worst of the four pathways, if I am reading it correctly is “only” improved by about a 40% improvement.  The study is straight bio-chemistry and clinical significance will surely need to be tested an more things vetted but I think it is some of the most exciting science I have seen since I was diagnosed.


I believe that if a drug company had this as an early trial, the fact that they needed to recoup research dollars coupled with an obligation to stock holders would have had the sales reps out educating doctors across the nation at an amazing rate.  But it is not a drug company trial, it was a JDRF study and they are being responsible and conservative and that is fine… BUT the intervention is to use a pair of OTC freely available, non-toxic supplements with lengthy history of safety in years of human use. 


I would encourage everyone to read the two papers.   My quandary is this:

How do we make it financially appealing to get developing and promising scientific findings into the hands of physicians without tainting the science or further corrupting the marketplace?


I stumbled on this one – I am betting there is other good science and self-care information that I’ve not yet found and I am not sure where the best spots are to begin looking because there is SO much information out there…


Anyhow, there is my “500 rant”


I am grateful for ya’ll bearing with me and I look forward to your thoughts and insights!





For quick reference the papers are here:


I probably should have edited than responded - but here i am so here it goes:

the other question I meant to ask was - what research that you all are seeing is getting you excited? 



I don't have an answer for your philosphical question.  However, what research do I find exciting?  I read on someone else blog here that went to a new stuff seminar.  They talked of SmartInsulin.  I looked it up online and it sounds cool.  You would inject it once a day and it would operate like a pancreas in that it would work when it needed to and not when it didn't.  As your BS rises it would become active. As your BS got down to a normal level it'd stop working until it needed to work again.  That's what I got out of it anyway.  No need to test (at least not near as much) and no tubes and only one shot per day.  What's not to like?


It is a beautiful concept that one - you're right it IS exciting!  Even better - in many ways it isn't particularly new technology - binding a drug/hormone to a polymer and having a triggered release is already a functional idea...  In my book this one seems like a bigger win than the closed loop CGM/Pump contraption if they can get the mix right between binding agent and insulin...

Great add!




Thank you very much for sharing this A-D. 

In terms of your question I really don't have an opinion, how does getting these findings into the hands of physicians taint the marketplace?  

Oh yea and congrats on your 500th post!  

I don't think you need to be worried about tainting science...if JDRF did the study there was probably less motive for bias than if a drug company did it (also check to see who funded the study and any disclosures of personal interest by authors).  In order to get doctors to use new information, there needs to be evidence and marketing.  Pharmaceutical reps push new drugs, so you would need to find a "pusher".  The federal government gives out a large amount of funding (tax dollars) every year for research... so pushing your political representatives is a good start.  Researchers unfortunately have to follow the money, and funding them increases the chances practitioners will pick up the drugs.  With all the talk about the need to decrease the cost of care I'm sure the government would get interested, especially if this stands to help type 2.  I'm not sure how to influence insurance companies, but I'm sure they have ways of convincing doctors that a cheaper solution is preferable (any advice here?)

Thanks for the links, I'll be sure to read them when I get a chance.

I would earmark this item as untouchable by drug companies, absolutely. I would target industries who witness first hand the impact of type 1 diabetic complications and type 1 diabetes in general. I would list the cost and benefit through a verifiable blind study. I would head toward government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid first, since it took so long to get them to approve supplies, etc. and since this, if it worked, would improve how much of their precious money they would have to part with. I would, after talking to these people and giving them similar-to-DCCT studies information, then advertise it with abandon to the public. I would not advertise this to drug companies at all. I would also not market this phenomenon to institutions who were alligned with pharmaceutical or insurance companies. That way, this would stand a chance of surviving. I would, in other words, let the benefits trickle UP not DOWN the economic ladder.

On another note, I saw recently a report about nanotechnology which shows a bacterium's tail being attached to a infinitessimally smal computer. Can you imagine such a thing? My only concern would be how to control something like this.

Another option would be to raise your own funds to support the research...several posts have been made on the site trying to find a cause to support.  I'm not sure how much participants got paid in these studies, my lab typically pays $10/hr for one shot experiments.  I think Gina suggested trying to get $1 from each member on another thread...meaning a cost of $100/participant would still support a study with a sample size of around 50. 

@ Crochet Nut: If the nanobots got out of control you could use wireless or other nanobots to "infect" them with a computer virus :)  A little less risky than oil eating bacteria.