There are more than 9,000 known diseases. But today, we've discovered approved treatments for only 500 of them. And millions of patients are waiting desperately for a lifeline.
No one knows this better than The Suzanne Wright Foundation. As advocates for patients with pancreatic cancer, they face the chilling reality of medicine frozen in time and space: Nine out of ten pancreatic cancer patients die from the disease - a mortality rate that has not changed in more than 40 years.
The problem isn't the science. The National Institutes of Health funds billions in basic research. The problem is taking the thousands of academic studies sitting idle today and translating them into real medical breakthroughs that change real patients' lives.
As The Suzanne Wright Foundation contends, the solution could come in the form of the Health Advanced Research Projects Agency (HARPA), modeled after DARPA, the Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Just as DARPA gave us the technology behind the Internet, GPS and ultrasounds, HARPA could provide the solutions for Alzheimer's, ALS, pancreatic cancer and even the opioid crisis. Only a government model has the power to bring together the private sector, doctors, policymakers and patients for the greater good.