Grassroots Health – crowdsourcing clinical research funding

April 30, 2010

Here’s an innovative idea: let’s say you have one of those myriad ideas about how to keep people healthy that does not involve a new molecule (pharma) or zapping a patient with neutron gamma rays (medical devices). The oft-repeated lament is “Nobody’s gonna fund that, there’s no money in it!”

But if it’s dirt cheap and so helpful, you ought to be able to convince some large number of people (how presumably have been helped) to chip in to fund the research, huh?

Well, that’s the big idea at Grassroots Health (http://grassrootshealth.net). As far as I can tell, their only (first?) area of interest is in Vitamin D sufficiency (http://grassrootshealth.net/daction). They essentially have people sign up for $60/year. By signing up, members agree to participate in an observational study tracking circulating Vitamin D concentrations (25(OH)D) against a bunch of health conditions. The long-term plan is to build up enough cash to do a clinical trial of a to-be-determined design.

Could be the start of a new model – and give the disaffected throngs a way to push their priorities and note be dictated to by the medical-industrial complex.

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