The Myelin Repair Foundation, in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Institute for the Future and a number of others, has posted a truly inspiring challenge to the broader community to battle neurodegenerative disease and the inefficiencies of the system. The means? An online game called “Breakthroughs to Cures“, where the year is 2020, a new neurodegenerative disease is sweeping across the masses, with no cure, no outward symptoms, and a seven to 10 year survival rate. The disease (a made up one for the sake of the game) is said to affect 100 million in the US alone, and the President is asking for the public to rally together and brainstorm what works and doesn’t work with the existing system, and how to accelerate the pace of research to stop the widespread contamination and cure the disease.
If you suspend disbelief for a second and leave your scifi opinions at the door, this is really inspiring – especially if you’ve ever had a loved one who’s suffered from a neurodegenerative disease (I have). The resources are slim, if any; the knowledge is scant and locked away in silos; and the outlook is often dim save a few measures known to help slightly slow the decreasing quality of life of most patients. I spent quite a bit of time in my previous job working with various disease research foundations and “venture philanthropy” groups, and I have to say, if this helps push the envelope even the tiniest bit and brings attention to the broader inefficiencies of neurodegenerative disease research, then I’m 100% behind it.
The game goes live on October 7th and lasts 24 hours. Click here for more.