Translational Research Report Crossing Over the Valley of Death

Report by FasterCures, 2011

Stem cells. Genes linked to Alzheimer’s, autism, diabetes.  Cancer drugs tailored to treat an individual tumor.

Every day we see stories in the media about the latest medical “breakthroughs” that could lead to cures for dreaded diseases. And yet, over the years, many breakthroughs like these have yet to bear fruit for patients. Why? Perhaps the media over-hype early discoveries. After all, science is complex and unpredictable. We have to first fail – numerous times – before we succeed, but
we tend not to hear about the failures. No one gets rewarded for failure.

The fact is that many basic discoveries barely get to start the journey down the therapeutic development pipeline. Fascinating observations and creative insights often get lost in translation because they lack funding, incentives, and technical expertise to advance any further. They get stuck in an ever-widening gap in funding and support for the kind of research that moves basic science down the path toward treatments. That gap has come to be called by many the “Valley of Death.”

Read the full report