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Research

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Patti J
Patti J Member, Dragonfly Posts: 589
edited April 2018 in Metastatic breast cancer
Today I  have been in touch with a friend who is the director of a research institute. I asked him about funding for metastatic breast cancer: if there was 30% of research devoted to metastatic breast cancer. He was non commital. He did however tell me that 2 oncologists associated with his institute were doing research into metastatic breast cancer.

I checked on his institute's web page and there were at least 9 people researching breast cancer. It is a bit frustrating that this is the case.

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  • brightspace
    brightspace Member Posts: 447
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    Hi patti thanks for starting the conversation.Yes it is an area of underfunding
    Lots of statistics to get our head around when you research metastatic bc
    Cheers B
  • Zoffiel
    Zoffiel Member Posts: 3,374
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    Research funding is an interesting animal.

    I work for Cancer Australia as a grant review committee member for their PDCCRS funding stream. Cancer OZ administers research grants for a number of funding partners who don't want to go through all the palaver of floating the grants and assessing the applications. All this is on their website. 

    Anyway, every year the partner foundations/charities/philanthropics who have money to spend on research decide what they want to spend it on (define their priorities) . If two or more partners have the same priority, they either team together or consider diversifying so there is no duplication. The grants through this scheme are generally $600K over 3 years. The National Medical Health and Research Council vets the science and the committee's assess and grade the applications for each priority area. Ive got to stress, this is only one way research gets funded in Australia, but it is responsible for disseminating millions of dollars every year.

    Sorry if that is a bit long winded. Anyway, the way things seem to work in this environment is the funding partners set the rules, and the scientists put together a team that can chase the money. This can make it difficult for scientists to 'specialise'. If the trends are all about DNA or inhibitors  or whatever at the time, that's were the work gets done.

    Its fascinating to watch, but I also wonder some times who sets the priorities. What drives the thinking in the partner organisations that makes them decide to spend money on survivorship programs, for example, one year and advancing radiotherapy techniques the next. 

    Anyone who can figure that out, can probably influence the direction that research may go.
  • Sister
    Sister Member Posts: 4,960
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    That is an interesting question @zoffiel and I'm sure these days it has parallels throughout research.  No longer does the scientist follow a promising path but one that is defined by the dollars it is likely to be turned into.  I can't remember which pollie said that last year about Uni research grants - may have been Turnbull.  So we now have a narrowly defined structure under which researchers can go about finding stuff out.  On one hand, it may seem to make economic sense (Oh hail the god, Economics) but think of all the things we are missing that aren't profit making.  And I may be cynical, and this is a purely personal view, but since when have the big bucks been spent on women?  Before anyone else says anything, I do know that men get breast cancer but the numbers are overwhelmingly about women.
  • Zoffiel
    Zoffiel Member Posts: 3,374
    edited April 2018
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    There is huge pressure in academia to secure grant funding. Without it, many institutions would be doomed. If the money requires you to do XYZ that's what you do to retain your place. Sad, but true and thus it has always been unless you are lucky enough to find a patron or benefactor who is willing to fund something truely novel.

    I don't know that there is much gender discrimination in the research area. B C gets a very sizable amount of money spent on it, much more than prostate cancer ( last time I checked) Appart from the gynae cancers, most of the rest affect both men and women. There is a lot of cross pollination as we are seeing with drugs designed to treat one cancer being trialled for different purposes (that's something I see as very important)
  • jennyss
    jennyss Member Posts: 1,980
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    Thanks @Patti J , @Zoffiel , @brightspace and @Sister - directions and funding for research into cancers - very interesting and important topic. Note to self: read more of this background info.
  • Patti J
    Patti J Member, Dragonfly Posts: 589
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    I realise that this is an American site but it is still relevant: http://www.metavivor.org/.