Inadequate Cancer Medicines in America?

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Aug. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Infectious Disease and Public Health Specialist Celine Gounder and Harvard Medical School Assistant Professor in Medicine Dr. James Bradner discusses cancer medicines with Pimm Fox on Bloomberg Television's "Taking Stock." (Source: Bloomberg)

Tell us about this thing you are working on that could actually solve the problem of cancer.

10 years ago as i was training as a cancer doctor, i learned something that most patients and families experiencing cancer already know, that cancer drugs don't work well enough.

I went back to school to retrain in chemistry, the science of making molecules.

Today, i lead a laboratory at the dana-farber cancer institute that attempts to undertake the new steps of a cancer drug discovery.

-- first steps of a new cancer drug discovery.

This molecule has a tendency to cause some types of cancers to forget that they are cancers.

In drug discovery, this is typically a pretty secretive, private moment where you lock away your secrets and don't tell your colleagues, certainly not your competitors.

But we're not a drug company.

We we are an academic center trying to have an impact as broadly on science as we can, so we did just the opposite.

We have made the molecule freely and immediately available to scientists around the world who may have an interest in studying this compound in their labs.

Today, we reported in the journal "cell," that this compound has the ability to prevent damage to the heart after overwhelming stress.

He is giving away information about a molecule that make your cancer.

Is this going to spur the acceleration of finding a cure?

It is interesting.

His lab has shared the molecule with over 400 labs across the world.

This is very much counter to what the pharmaceutical industry would normally do.

Usually, it is very much about intellectual property.

You patent it and make money on it.

But his lab has patented it with the idea of protecting it as something open sourced that others can study.

I would be curious to hear what he thinks -- what do you think this means in terms of commercialization?

Is an antagonistic to doing commercialization of medical research?

There are two really important components to the formula for a winning drug molecule.

The first is to have a terrific substance, and fair, patents are very important to ensure that the technologies they deserve.

The second is that we should know exactly what to do with these molecules by the time they reach the clinic.

Open source drug discovery, as we call it now in our laboratory, really solves the second problem.

It allows all of us to come up with better solutions to diseases than any of us.

Basically, so we don't get in our own way.

It sounds great.

It even sounds like it could get a nobel prize.

But is it going to make people a lot of money?

Isn't that what really drives drug discovery?

If you cannot make money on it, why are people going to develop it?

Is a cancer doctor, i am glad there is money out there for people who are creative and resourceful enough to cure this awful disease.

So yes, these molecules that go into the clinic must be protected.

But for every molecule that goes into at the clinic, there is a molecule on the shelf that could be an important tool for scientist around the world to make important findings like the finding today about heart failure.

Surely, those findings are more important than just the commercial side.

Are there other benefits to using open source technology?

It is an nascent field, i would say.

This molecule is being studied for multiple myeloma, leukemia, lymphoma.

But he is a pioneer in this area, for sure.

Even the incentives in academia are that you are the person who gets the grant.

Your name is on the paper.

So you want to protect that information.

In the pharmaceutical industry, it is a profit motive.

This is a groundbreaking approach to science.

What are some of the pharmaceutical companies you're working with or talking to -- what do they say about this?

They are very interested.

It is clear they are following this work with real attention.

Beyond our own effort, there are already two or three pharmaceutical companies delivering chemical derivatives of the molecule to the clinic.

Whether or not they will experiment with it themselves remains to be seen, but as in the information technology industry, more and more we believe that unless they to embrace an open-source approach, they may not be competitive in the future.

When do we get the cure cure for cancer?

How many years?

Cure is a big word in our field.

We do not treat it lightly.

This year, the molecule will

This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.


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