Sunday, December 12, 2010

And so this is Christmas.

"What this group in Philadelphia has so miraculously done is reignite this issue and run with it." –Larry Kramer, playwright and AIDS activist icon

“To someone like me, this means more than you know.
–HIV-positive young man in rural Pennsylvania                                                               
Dear Friends,
Please make a donation to the AIDS Policy Project and join our campaign to push the search for a cure for AIDS. Your money will go straight to bold, effective, and original activism.

We are shaking things up. We are working with the world’s leading researchers and reminding them that the world still desperately needs a cure for AIDS. We are calling out the National Institutes of Health for spending only 3% of its AIDS dollars to actually find a cure—a fact no one knew until we got the information after a five-month campaign.

In one year, we've put the cure back on the map in the AIDS community and we’re helping to make the cure cool again in the research community. Our campaign was on the cover of POZ Magazine. Our executive director was chosen as one of the top 100 activists in the US.  Researchers are citing our influence in their own articles. This blog even won an award; it's read from San Francisco to Soweto.

Please join us to fight for a cure for AIDS. Make a tax-deductible contribution to the AIDS Policy Project:

We are calling for more funding for the science, and new models of medical research that encourage collaboration and move faster. We are helping scientists remove bureaucratic roadblocks that prevent them from pushing forward toward a cure. With your help, together, we can do it.

We are doctors and nurses, longtime AIDS activists and college students--the only organization laser-focused on a cure.

Happy holidays. It's time for a cure!

Kate Krauss, for everyone at the AIDS Policy Project

AIDS Policy Project
5120 Walton Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19143 
tel: 215-939-7852 
(we have members all over the US)

Friday, December 3, 2010

White Paper on New Models for Accelerated Drug Discovery and Development Is Released

Kauffman Foundation: "Five leaders in the medical innovation field released a white paper today titled The New Role of Academia in Drug Discovery and Development:  New Thinking, New Competencies, New Results.  This white paper reflects key recommendations from a July 2010 town hall meeting in Kansas City hosted by Friends of Cancer Research, Kansas Bioscience Authority, The University of Kansas Cancer Center, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and Council for American Medical Innovation.

"The white paper outlines how government, nonprofit organizations and academic institutions can define new models of working with the private sector to enhance drug development efforts and bring safer, more effective drugs to the market more efficiently. ...

"'This white paper outlines critical steps toward much-needed increased interagency collaboration,' said Dr. Ellen Sigal, Chair, Friends of Cancer Research. 'The proposals discussed within this document aim to accelerate the process to help get scientific breakthroughs to patients. The message is clear; without collaboration among all agencies and academic centers, the full potential of biomedical research may be stifled.'"

More info:

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Speech on a cure for AIDS to the Philadelphia Town Meeting.

Local medical students listen to Dr. Kostman at our town meeting.  
Photo by Harvey Finkle.

There's lots more to say than this--I could talk about the need to actually support (and not just say one supports) new ideas, and back them up with funding. Like the idea that has, so far, cured the Berlin Patient of AIDS. Or the new idea that is curing mice in Southern California. Even if those ideas come from regular doctors, and not AIDS researchers. Or from brilliant researchers who are starved for funding simply because they live in Europe and not the US.

I could talk about the obstacle course thrown up by funders, institutional review boards, the FDA, and other bureaucracies in front of even the best researchers and the most brilliant ideas. We need the brightest scientists, not people who are smart at negotiating red tape or gaming the system because they have to. We are at a pivotal moment in the AIDS pandemic--a moment of great opportunity, if we recognize it, and act.

A cure for AIDS, whether it is developed in Bethesda or Madrid, would save 30 million lives and the US government $17 billion per year. Yet the NIH is spending only $40-$60 million on AIDS cure research. Where are the great philanthropists to support a cure? We need you. We also need President Obama, federal officials, and drug companies to step up. We saw that President Obama called for a cure for AIDS in his World AIDS Day proclamation--the first time a cure has been mentioned since at least 2005. But without the proper support, including more funding, we will lose an opportunity to save millions of lives. 

Can we be the generation that ends the AIDS pandemic?

Here's what I said to our friends in Philadelphia, many of whom are AIDS prevention activists, at our town meeting on a cure.