In healthcare reform, policymakers need to appreciate that true cost savings can be best achieved through accelerated research that ultimately allows us to cure more and treat less. It is time for a careful examination of the institutions and the processes that allocate resources for medical research, with the aim of giving greater emphasis, and more funding, to research that can deliver better patient outcomes.
One problem inherent in government-funding mechanisms in place today is the tendency to promote only the safer projects and not the more risky research projects that could lead to new approaches to prevention, treatment, and, ultimately, a cure.
We believe that a well-proven mechanism already exists in a venture philanthropy model pioneered at the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) and adopted with demonstrable success by other philanthropic organizations supporting research including the Lance Armstrong Foundation (testicular cancer), the Michael J. Fox Foundation (Parkinson’s disease), The Multiple Myeloma Foundation, the Melanoma Alliance, and others. Applying the principles of venture philanthropy more broadly—preferably (and most expediently) through extant organizations—should maximize the value returned on our research investments.