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The Crisis of Funding

April 23, 2012

Our mission is pretty simple and straightforward – to raise as much money as possible for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) in ten weeks. As part of that endeavor, however, we have taken a little bit different path than most teams. We have made it a point to understand the environment that LLS operates in by talking to patients, doctors and researchers. One of the biggest eye openers in that process has been my interview of Chris Park. It is recorded and posted on the “Featured Research” section of our site.

Much of Chris’s interview is technical. He talked about his project, the Park Center, in New York and about the new and exciting stem cell research. When I asked how close we were to a “cure” he responded that current therapies do not really “cure” cancer; rather they control it. For example, kinase inhibitors blocks the action of proteins that are activated abnormally in diseased cells. Chris’s research, however, takes a different approach and is focused on stem cells. Through stem cell research, Chris’s approach isolates and studies the diseased cells. Results are encouraging and the approach is promising, but funding is lacking.

Chris and researchers like him have traditionally relied on government funding of their research, primarily through the National Institute of Health (NIH). According to Chris, fifteen years ago, 15% to 25% of this type of research would receive an NIH grant. Now, only 6% to 8% of research projects get NIH funding. This comes at a time when there are promising new therapies on the horizon, and a delay in funding means a delay in treatments. For a leukemia patient, a delay could mean the difference between life and death.

Chris recognizes the importance of philanthropic organizations such as LLS in filling the gaps left by decreased governmental funding of cancer therapies, and that is why our mission is so urgent. We want to raise as much money as possible to research new techniques and develop new technologies. We believe a cure is possible, and with government funds lacking, the need for private support from donors like you has never been greater. Please give generously to our cause.

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