Back of the envelope calculation: $50 billion spent every year diagnosing, treating, and researching breast cancer in the United States. A race for the cure? Au contrare, It's a stampede.
News: Professor Vincent Tuohy of the Cleveland Clinic developed a preventive breast cancer vaccine that is 100% effective in preventing breast cancer in mice and is ready for safety testing in women. His results were vetted by a panel of experts over a period of two years and were published in the prestigious "Nature Medicine" in May 2010.
If Tuohy's vaccine is as safe and effective in women as it is in mice, it will eliminate 95% of the world's breast cancer. NOTE: Clinical trials in women will take approximately ten years, once the studies begin.
But no one seems to want to fund this research, even though Tuohy received the Sonnes Innovation Award in Medicine from the Cleveland Clinic in 2010, and even though the Cleveland Clinic has established a special research fund to support his work (Cleveland Clinic Breast Cancer Fund).
It would seem that there's more interest, perhaps more money to be made, in treating rather than preventing this disease - the most common malignancy in women in every country in the world, bar none.
But, ladies, let's get another envelope, turn it over, and do some more arithmetic.
There are 7.2 billion people on the planet, and millions more added by the day. Let's say that half are women. Let's round off and say that if Tuohy's vaccine is proven safe and effective, 3 billion women would be eligible for Tuohy's vaccine. Half the planet ... a sizeable market, wouldn't you say?
Now let's say, hypothetically, that a preventive breast cancer vaccine would hit the market at, oh, $500 per injection. And let's hope women only need one shot ... but they made need several, just like children need three shots to get immunity to some childhood diseases. But in this calculation, let's remain optimistic and calculate 3 billion women each receiving one injection @ $500 per shot. My, I don't think you even need an envelope to do this calculation; you can do it in your head.
It's a fortune.
A fortune for some entrepreneur with $12 million to spare who has the guts to fly to Cleveland and tell the Chinese (who are deep in negotiations to purchase an exclusive license to manufacture and distribute Tuohy's vaccine) "Thanks, good-bye, and have a nice life. We'll take it from here."
A king's ransom is waiting for a sharp cookie with an eye to the future who can spot a good investment when she sees one, having read about it on this blog, and is willing to spend a few hours checking out this most promising discovery. bit.ly/TuohyVaccine
Oh, BTW, there are at least 3 billion women who will be very grateful to that sharp cookie, and I am one of them.