What happen after you find a cure to some desese?

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Message 72180 - Posted: 19 Jan 2012, 21:31:36 UTC

Will you release the cure to the public? Here in the US most corporations and laboratories would patent the cure for profit. Since the public is largely involved in uncovering a cure, i believe the cure should be given to the public. Sorry but i couldn't find a post addressing this issue.
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Message 72194 - Posted: 20 Jan 2012, 23:51:22 UTC

The project home page explains that Rosetta@home is non-profit and partially funded by the National Institutes of Health. I believe NIH requires that your findings be published in order to qualify for their grants.

The true nature of the research is not to deliver a "cure". But rather to present compounds that warrant further study and development by other researchers. More specifically, to learn how amino acids interact and behave so that desirable compounds can accurately be modeled to determine if they warrant further study.
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Rocco Moretti

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Message 72196 - Posted: 21 Jan 2012, 2:03:43 UTC

As Mod.Sense indicates, the main goal of Rosetta@home is basic science - How do protein fold and interact, and can we predict this computationally? Even the "applied" components of the research (e.g. design a flu binder, design a cancer binder) are really at their core basic research proof-of-principles studies: the goal is not so much to design the protein, but rather show that we *can* do so, and how one would best go about doing so.

All of the basic research work gets published. It's not just because of funding agency requirements - we think this work is important, and really cool, besides. We want people to know about our results and even improve upon them. When we say "potential cure", we actually mean "knowledge that could potentially lead to a cure, after lots of additional research" - and all that knowledge gets published.


That said, I should point out that just releasing results to the public doesn't normally translate to useful cures in a hospital. It's a long an tortuous path from something in the lab to something in the hospital. Most of the effort and expense of making new drugs is involved with the required human clinical trials and the associated preliminary testing. Most academic labs and publicly funded organizations don't have the resources to do that. The harsh economic reality is that the people in the best position to take research results and transform them into something your doctor could prescribe is the for-profit drug companies, and to make it worth their while, they need exclusivity (usually in the form of patents). (I understand there's other, non-traditional, ways of bringing drugs to market, but in broad brush strokes, that's the current state of drug development.)

Note that I'm not in a position to make any sort of official statement or commitment on the issue, but if patents were to be sought for results from Rosetta@home, it wouldn't be to get rich. Instead, it likely would be so we had an incentive (exclusive licensing) to offer drug companies to encourage them to pay for clinical trials, so the result can actually make it into the hands of people who need it. It's not really cure+patent vs. cure+no-patent, but more patent+cure vs. no-patent+no-cure.

I realize it might be a bit unsatisfying, but that's the way it is.
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