Funding: Clarifications to Harriman

U27111 at uicvm.uic.edu U27111 at uicvm.uic.edu
Fri Jan 5 18:11:30 EST 1996



On Thu, 4 Jan 1996 17:51:22 -0600 gregoryh at bcm.tmc.edu (Gregory R.
Harriman) wrote:

>     It certainly can be difficult to ascertain the benefits of
>basic research (and in fact that is why one needs to be cautious
>before condemning such research).  At the risk of restating what
>I have already mentioned previously; who would have known in the
>1950s how important research on bacterial enzymes (restriction
>endonucleases) would be for current biomedical research and
>medicine.  Ultimately, we can gauge benefits by how much the
>research improves our understanding of diseases and whether it
>provides ways to better treat those diseases.

I am far from condemning basic research... what I am condemning is
*bad* or poorly done basic research.  Of which, much more of this
goes on then most in our community is willing to acknowledge.

And how our community accepts it... and contines to accept what is
unacceptable.

>     I appreciate your frustration with how slow biomedical
>science seems to be advancing.  I too, lost a parent to cancer.
>Nonetheless, when you look at our current knowledge, as compared
>to only 30 years ago, significant progress has been made.

Yes and no.  That's debatable as to exactly what you are talking
about.

For if you are talking about technology... YES

But if you are talking about treatments... not really.  In some
cancers... it's just as barbaric as it was 30 years ago [if not
even more so in some cases (ie. quality of life verses quantity of
life issues)].

-Kathy



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