On December 14, 2010, Friends of Cancer Research (Friends) Chair and Founder, Dr.
During her presentation, Dr. Sigal called on research organizations, regulatory agencies, and industry to tear down the silos that often times exist within each institution. She went on to discuss how all components of the biomedical research community must identify joint priorities and commit to removing bureaucratic, communicative and scientific barriers that are prohibiting efficient use of limited resources to truly change the way in which we approach treating this disease.
The paper outlines three recommendations to push for effective policies to prevent current and future obstacles from hindering innovation and avoiding duplicative or wasteful processes.
1) Reevaluate the Activities of Health-related Agencies
The President should create a task force lead by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in collaboration with agency officials, academic researchers, and patient advocates to comprehensively examine the various cancer-related efforts of federal agencies and the silos that exist amongst and between them.
2) Develop Multidisciplinary Mechanisms to Support Translational Research
As new programs designed to accelerate translation of new discoveries to available treatments begin to be implemented individuals with specific expertise in drug development and commercialization should to have more direct involvement in the grant writing and review processes.
3) Develop Processes in Healthcare Delivery that Enhance Research
During this time of widespread implementation the federal government should develop policies that enhance data collected within EHRs to optimally contribute to research activities.
Dr. Sigal concluded by calling on the cancer community to be guided by the principle that both outcomes and patient benefits will be greater when achieved through collaborations versus the disconnected efforts of the past.
“If we are to truly reduce the burden of cancer at a pace at which the millions of patients afflicted by this disease need and deserve, the entire cancer enterprise must take action to tear down the silos and adopt a philosophy of synergy and collaboration.”