Saturday, September 11, 2010

9/11, Collaboration and Cancer for Life

Today was a day for reflection on the lives that were lost, the heroes who gave their lives or their health in the rescue effort, and all their families.  With all the media hype about some moronic pastor wanting to burn a Qur'an, it was an effort not to dwell on the monsters who did this to our country but to honor the memories of those who died, I chose to think about the victims and their families rather than the perpetrators of this atrocity.  May their memories be for a blessing.
As I typed the word "victims" I realized that I try hard to avoid using that word, especially when it comes to people suffering from an illness or disease.  But sometimes it's the only word that works.

Last night I watched as the three major US television networks showed celebrities and cancer survivors, friends and loved ones of cancer victims talking about the incredible model collaborative effort between researchers and doctors treating cancer patients. By having researchers work together instead of fighting over who published a paper first, they learned a lot very quickly by sharing the fruits of their individual research. Step two was getting the results of this research rapidly from the lab to the treatment room without waiting for the years of study that is the present model. They have saved countless lives using this "out of the box" approach.

Cancer has touched my family and many of my friends, and so I called and made a contribution to this effort;  but I could not help make the comparison between this initiative and the CCSVI naysayers who are objecting because of not enough research, no long term studies, we have to wait and see, blah, blah, blah.

The type of collaboration going on in the world of cancer research and treatment is precisely what is needed for MS.  Instead of objecting and putting up roadblocks when patients want to try a treatment that appears to work, why not collaborate to move quickly from research to treatment and make this model the standard for all diseases.  I was happy to hear about the lives saved by this cancer initiative and sad for all the MS sufferers who are being stymied at every turn. Please, let's stop bickering and work together to try ANYTHING REASONABLE that shows promise. Too many lives are in the balance; patients, and family members, friends, even employers, are all affected when one has MS. We can't afford to listen to the neurologists who push drugs that don't work argue with the radiologists who want to try a new approach. The clock is running - we simply don't have time. We need an "MS for Life" research/treatment collaboration effort NOW.  This is what the MS Societies and the NHI who contribute countless research dollars should initiate: collaborate or lose funding.  Maybe someone out there is listening.

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