Proving that there really is a month for everything, it turns out that May is cancer research month! We thought therefore it would be a good time to reflect on some basic concepts related to cancer research, and what it all means for people living with myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN).
Research, broadly defined, is the systematic investigation to establish facts and reach new conclusions. For cancer research, this can be divided into Basic, Translational, Clinical and Epidemiological. Each approaches the questions associated with different types of cancer with a different framework for answering their particular question.
To bring it full circle, a new trend detected via epidemiological research could suggest a new hypothesis for a basic researcher to pursue. As tantalizing as the immediacy of a clinical research project is, without basic and epidemiological research to underpin your theories about a particular problem, finding the right fit between medicine and cancer is like finding a needle in a haystack. Each of these approaches takes resources of time (researchers & patients), money (non-profit, government, industry), infrastructure (medical centers, government, industry, non-profit) to pursue.
The pace and cost of research can be so frustrating for patients, which is why it is heartening to see initiatives like the Moonshot, which seek to accelerate cancer research, born out of the parental heartache of Vice President Joe Biden, who lost his son to brain cancer in 2015. This frustration is something that we live with daily at the Foundation, and it is why we are always on the hunt for what is not being done in MPN research. Our projects have run the gamut of what is mentioned above, and we have more exciting and expansive plans coming for 2017 and beyond.