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An X Prize for an Effective CFS/ME Cure?

Discussion in 'Action Alerts and Advocacy' started by Hip, Mar 18, 2011.

  1. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

    What do people think about the idea of suggesting an X PRIZE for the development of an effective cure or treatment for CFS/ME?

    X PRIZES are put up to stimulate and entice research into important or neglected areas.

    Google, for example, have put up a Lunar X PRIZE of $20 million to be given to the first privately-funded team to land a robot on the Moon that successfully travels more than 500 meters and transmits back high definition images and video. The idea of this Lunar X PRIZE is to stimulate private sector involvement in space.

    In the case of CFS/ME, even a more modest X PRIZE of say $2 million for an effective cure or treatment for CFS/ME would do wonders to stimulate a broader CFS/ME research interest.

    Given that CFS/ME costs the US alone $24 billion a year in terms of lost work, lost taxes and high medical costs, there ought to be many organizations that would be very pleased to see CFS/ME cured (eg, governments, health care providers), and may be interested in putting up such a comparatively (to $24 billion) small X PRIZE of the order of $2 million.

    Looking at the X PRIZE Foundation's website, this foundation does work in the life sciences area, so a CFS/ME X PRIZE will certainly be something that they will be happy consider.

    In fact, CFS/ME has extra special merits, because of the unfavorable political and funding climate CFS/ME research faces (ie, CFS/ME gets a measly 2% of the funding that diseases of similar prevalence and severity receive).

    So if ever there were a worthy and important research pursuit that needs to be vigorously stimulated by an X PRIZE, it surely must be finding a cure or treatment for CFS/ME.

    Note that a CFS/ME X PRIZE does not necessarily have to be for the ultimate goal of a cure or treatment (though this would be nice). It could be for some major milepost on the road to the cure, such as finding a universal diagnostic biomarker for CFS/ME. The X PRIZE Foundation does appear to have such "milepost" type X PRIZES in consideration for other diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. Perhaps someone here has some suggestions for other CFS/ME mileposts that could be the focus of a CFS/ME X PRIZE?

    It shouldn't be too difficult for us to organize a submission for this CFS/ME X PRIZE idea. The X PRIZE Foundation's submission pages is here.

    The X PRIZE Foundation's blog says:

    So a well-written submission from people here will be taken very seriously (though perhaps it would be best to consult with one or more of the CFS/ME researchers and organizations as well).

    Getting an X PRIZE for CFS/ME will also help to increase recognition for this disease.

    What do people think about this?
  2. acer2000

    acer2000 Senior Member

    I think its a great idea. Shoot for the stars - identify the definitive cause and come up with an effective treatment or cure.
  3. SpecialK82

    SpecialK82 Ohio, USA

    Ohio, USA
    intriguing idea - sounds great, my only concern, would it create a more competitve environment where scientists wouldn't share their findings, etc. and thus create a longer time until a breakthough... I wonder if this has been a problem with other X PROJECTS?? We should definitely look into it though!
  4. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

    Good point. Though this concern probably would not be such an issue for more niche-type milepost CFS/ME X PRIZES, such as finding biomarkers for CFS/ME. If say three competing groups got going, working on their own interests and ideas to find biomarkers for CFS/ME, this would not hold up any of the other areas of CFS research.

    It is also possible that different competing groups that were registered with the X PRIZE Foundation would work and use such different approaches to curing CFS/ME, that they could afford to be open and transparent with their work, since info and techniques from one approach would not be of much use to another approach. So for example, hypothetically, if Dr Martin Pall were to further develop and advance his peroxynitrite/nitric oxide theories as a treatment for CFS, this work would not overlap with say an anti-retroviral approach.
  5. eric_s

    eric_s Senior Member

    Switzerland/Spain (Valencia)
    I like the idea too.

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