TED Conversations

Olivier Coquillo

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Why can't we all get together and find a cure to all terminal diseases?

I have not done enough research on collaboration between research centers but I promise to read all of your comments, since I am mostly asking this question to learn from you.

One of my dreams is to be able to witness an international collaboration and a public commitment from top research centers to find a cure to terminal diseases and to distribute the cure for free to people in need.

Do you think that there is a competition between research centers and scientists? Do you think that some groups are more focused on finding a cure to make money rather than finding a cure to save lives? I would love to know what you think.



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    May 19 2013: Your dream of collaborative, social medicine is beautiful. Unfortunately, the reality of the economics of industrial societies tend to create competition for dollars amongst scientists who should be cooperating. This problem is compounded by the corporate drive to profit from all medical services and products. The social imperatives of terminal disease are currently subordinated to the fiscal imperatives of global profiteering. The joke about all of this is that medicine is about people and people are both the solution and the problem.

    Many scientists are working around the financial constraints through social organizations. If you dig through the TED talks you'll find some of these people and learn the names of organizations, schools and businesses involved. Obviously, following up on those clues with some vigorous web research will give you a broad source of knowledge moving toward your dream.

    Here in America, all businesses are in business for the money, regardless of what their representatives say. That's why medicine here is more expensive than it is in many other industrial nations. Many of the organizations here are equally interested in money more than health because Americans are rich people (compared to most of the people on the planet) who constantly crave more luxury and riches.

    To compound the societal issues, terminal illness is a moving target. As you know, there is no one cancer; there are many cancers. All of these illnesses involve cellular changes, through either internal mutation, genetic proclivity, infection, or some other form of external stress. Ethnic differences may be involved, with environmental factors and personal history. Each individual with an illness, any illness really, has an individual instance of that illness. With 7 billion individuals on the planet, no single cure will help all those afflicted. Even if it did, it could not prevent mutation of the illness.

    Perseverance and diligence are our only answers.

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