TED Conversations

Olivier Coquillo

This conversation is closed.

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.



Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • May 22 2013: On "cure" vs. "treat:" It is nice to have the immense R&D capability that the pharmaceutical companies have because of the immense financial reserves they generate, And in the case of truly chronic diseases this is good. However, the mandate to generate increasingly large profits (corporations must do this by law) may be counterproductive when it comes to finding solutions for truly curable diseases or putting treatments that no longer fall under patent protection through clinical trials. It is a real risk in cases like these that the company would not be able to recoup its investment. As such, it is a sad fact, I think, that the current trend is for businesses to focus mostly on treatment and not so much on cure. It is an area that I believe needs some government intervention.

    On competition between researchers: I know there is significant competition among researchers, if only by virtue of the fact that they need to compete for money to continue their studies. My brother-in-law is a medical researcher at a university and he spends a large portion of his time not on research but on writing grant proposals. And when he doesn't get the grant, naturally it hurts his research, so of course he fights hard to show that his research is a more worthwhile investment than the other person's. That having been said, I am encouraged by all of the opening up of research journals and information that has been released by open access journals, and I know that collaboration among scientists exists. I think one of the key things to be considered is that it is not usually the pettiness of individual scientists that creates competition. Rather, competition is more often due to the way we have systematized the allocation of available resources that the scientists need to do their jobs. Again, I think that the solution to achieving greater collaboration among scientists would require the government to step in.
    • thumb
      Jun 1 2013: I agree with you Karl. This is not something that can be done without the government.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.