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Founder and CEO of GlobalCures, Inc.
A Note from
In June 2004, my friend Jennifer was diagnosed with a recurrence of breast cancer. As she failed one chemotherapy agent after another, I frantically searched the web for "alternative" treatments - treatments that were not in her doctor's medical bag. While I found quite a few ideas online, trying to find the few potentially promising ones became an overwhelming task. I would bring some of these treatments to my husband Vikas, a physician and cancer researcher at Harvard Medical School at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, MA. While helping me to evaluate the scientific basis for these ideas, he began to sound like a broken record: "This looks interesting, but we need rigorous clinical studies to carefully evaluate toxicities and efficacy." Vikas and I continued our research and found that many of these potential therapies were not being developed. While the reasons varied somewhat, a disturbing pattern began to emerge: most of these therapies could not be patented. Thus they were not being developed by pharmaceutical companies for purely economic reasons. We knew that drug development is a time consuming and expensive process, requiring many years and millions of dollars. Pharmaceutical companies have a fiscal responsibility to their shareholders and simply cannot spend time and money developing therapies unlikely to provide a positive impact to their bottom line. Thus we discovered a "gap." Promising therapies would languish in the realm of the "unproven" unless a different drug development model was used (see Business Model). A non-profit drug development organization funded by the public, without a profit incentive, seemed to be the only way to go and so GlobalCures was born. Time ran out for Jennifer. She died at the age of 36, just nine months after her cancer recurred. But for those struggling in similar circumstances today and in the future, we hope to lead a global effort to identify, evaluate, prioritize, and develop promising medical therapies that would otherwise not be explored because of financial considerations. Our findings will be made available to patients and healthcare givers worldwide. Cancer will be our initial focus. With your help, we can make a difference to patients everywhere. Vidula Sukhatme Founder and CEO of GlobalCures, Inc.