Eradicating Disease: From Pipe Dream to Pipeline

Elizabeth Sierminski

Eradicating disease seems like an elusive pipe dream but not if you ask Donna Cryerpresident and CEO of the Global Liver Institute.

“9,000 days ago, doctors told me I had seven days to live,” said Cryer. “I believe in our ability to continually adapt and innovate and conquer disease”.  

Cryer was joined by Research!America board member Dr. William Hait, global head, Janssen Research and Development, and fellow board member Dr. Mark McClellan, director, Duke-Robert J. Margolis Center for Health Policy, Duke University for an interactive panel discussion titled, A World Without Disease: Can We Get There?, at the BIO International Conference in San Diego, California on June 20. Research!America’s Executive Vice President Mike Coburn introduced the session as “a thoughtful discussion about the possibility of extending the healthy lifespan by eradicating disease.” Luke Timmerman, founder and editor, Timmerman Report, moderated the panel.

The panelists agreed that turning disease eradication from a pipe dream to a reality requires a more efficient and effective research pipeline that prioritizes prevention.

“The big steps are going to come from researchers and people with big ideas,” McClellan said. He expressed the need for a payment system that incentivizes prevention and detection.

"It takes a long time to bring a drug through the development process,” said Hait. “When you start that journey, you want to be sure that you exceed some market expectations 10 years from now… there is a lot we can do with information and tools in preventive ways.”

“We need to be much more collaborative. Much more focused on meeting unmet needs,” added Cryer. She believes that taking research out of silos will allow us to aggregate the findings into preventions and cures much more quickly.

McClellan also noted that funding the National Institutes of Health is crucial to disease eradication. He is proud of the work that Research!America has done to rally strong, bipartisan congressional support for NIH funding.

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You can change the image of things to come. But you can’t do it sitting on your hands … The science community should reach out to Congress and build bridges.
The Honorable John E. Porter