“What happens when underperforming big ideas in research become entrenched?” is the topic of a recent published report. A couple of big ideas, stem cell therapy and gene therapy have fizzled. Stopping the train is even harder.
Thousands of research projects and papers continue to be funded and published on these two topics. In reality, only 2.5% of cancer involved a gene mutation that can be targeted. So-called personalized medicine based upon a person’s genetic makeup can only help a minority of people. Neither does gene or stem cell therapy produce a measurable reduction in morbidity or mortality or expansion of life expectancy in the U.S. The National Institutes of Health continues to fund these dead-end technologies. The Society for Stem Cell Research has even had to issued “anti-hype” guidelines to present realistic reports about stem cell technology. So far, not any coverage of this report in the news media. [Journal American Medical Assn. July 28, 2016]
Another report reveals 99.6% of new investigational drug trials for Alzheimer’s disease ended in failure. [EBioMedicine 2016] Modern medicine is spending precious research dollars to accomplish little but keeping researchers in jobs.